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Author ofa" Synopsis of Perspective," Sfc. $fc. 








Printed by J. L. Cox and SONS, 75, Great Queen Street, 
Linco!n'-Inn Fields. 






THE chief effect of improvement in arts 
and sciences is in their simplification, and 
consequent greater diffusion, giving" in- 
creased advantages to subsequent writers, 
who may condense more than their prede- 
cessors, and at the same time be equally well 
or better understood. The business, there- 
fore, of an Author is to endeavour to keep 
pace with the philosophical attainments of 
the age, which continually requires increased 
precision, a shorter method of reasoning, 
and logical deductions as conclusive as those 



which arc purely geometrical. Such deduc- 
tions, however, cannot be hoped for, or even 
attempted, in a work on Painting, as there 
is no written language in which pictorial 
ideas can be definitively expressed. Perhaps 
the Author, aware of this great difficulty, 
may be thought too brief in those places 
which relate to the philosophy of the art; 
but if, where he may not have succeeded 
in conveying definite ideas, he may have 
supplied matter worthy of thought, he trusts 
that his work will be of some benefit to the 
Amateur, the Artist, and general reader. 

The Author has essayed to place some 
things in a new point of view, and although 
he has borrowed freely, he believes that 
much original matter will be found, useful 
towards directing the student to a right 



method of estimating the difficulties of this 
art, and for assisting to remove most, if not 
all, by shewing that the mind must perform 
what too many think is to be accomplished 
by the hand. 

In the practical part, a copious set of tints 
is arranged as an Index, in order to save as 
much as possible the time usually devoted to 
the elementary department of colouring : to 
these the student can refer, as he would to 
a dictionary for the explanation of a word. 
The assistance afforded by a few careful in- 
spections of this Index will make the student 
acquainted with a greater number of mixed 
colours, than he would probably acquire in a 
practice of many months. 

The Author begs to add, that he does not 
attempt the difficult task, of superseding the 



necessity of a teacher in the practical part, 
believing it impossible to lay down in writing 
a code of rules sufficient to supply the place 
of oral communications, or to explain the 
manner of doing some things, that depend 
entirely on a facility of hand acquired by 
long practice, and which must be seen to be 






















Addiscotnbe, Oct. 1st 1835. 



Preface ix 

Explanation of terms used in Painting 9 

Introductory and General Remarks 17 

Design, Composition, and Invention 37 

Chiaro-Scuro 50 

Colouring 68 

On the Picturesque 92 

On Beauty, Grace, and Expression Ill 

Introduction to the Practice of Painting in Water- 
Colours, and use of Index / 

General Precepts 149 

Description of the Plates, with Critiques, &c 162 






ACCESSARIES are adjuncts introduced into a 
picture, to give relief and beauty, without being 
absolutely necessary to the subject represented. 

ACCIDENTS, ACCIDENTALS, are lights, objects, 
or small groups of objects, &c., suggested by 
convenience, and introduced as after-thoughts, 
not having been included in the original com- 
position of the picture. These assist materially 
the effect, but are too trifling to be enumerated 

B in 


in the construction of the picture ; as smoke, 
drops of water on flowers, lights amongst clusters 
of leaves, weeds, c. 

ANTIQUE is a term applied to paintings and 
statues, basso relievos, medals, intaglios, or en- 
graved gems, such as were wrought by the 
Greeks and Romans, from the time of Alexander 
the Great until the commencement of the dark 
ages. It was previous to this period that the 
arts had been carried to the greatest perfection 
among the Greeks and Romans. 

ATTITUDE, in painting, comprehends all the 
motions of the body, and disposition of the limbs 
of a figure. From the attitude we learn the 
action in which a figure is engaged, and some 
of the sentiments supposed to be felt by it. 
The choice of attitudes ought always to be such 
as to display the most beautiful parts of the 
figure, and to give grace to the action, and is 
one of the principal excellencies and difficulties 
of grouping. 



BREADTH. By this word we generally imply 
that the lights and shadows, also colours, are 
arranged in masses, by which grandeur of effect 
and expression is obtained. Correggio excelled 
in this impressive quality. Breadth is completely 
destroyed by small detached lights and shadows, 
scattered irregularly throughout the picture. 

BACK-GROUND is a term given to the space 
behind a portrait or group of figures, and upon 
its happy arrangement depends much of the effect 
of a picture. Sir Joshua Reynolds was extremely 
fortunate in his choice of back-grounds, which 
are generally elegant and appropriate ; and the 
value that Rubens placed on this too frequently 
neglected part may be learned by the following 
anecdote. Being requested to take a young artist 
under his instruction, he was informed, by way 
of recommendation, that the youth had already 
made some progress in the art, and would be able 
to assist him considerably in painting his back- 
grounds. Rubens replied, that if he were really 

B 2 capable 


capable of painting back-grounds well, he required 
very little instruction. 

CHARGED is a term frequently applied to an 
exaggerated outline or attitude, exceeding the 
natural proportions or position of a figure, and 
is applicable to many of the designs of Fuseli as 
well as some others, though there are few speci- 
mens of it in the ancient statues. 

MIDDLE TINT, as the words imply, are those 
tints which are equally removed, or nearly so, 
from light or darkness. 

DISTEMPER is a mode of using colours mixed 
with any kind of size or other glutinous sub- 
stances, and was in use before the discovery of 
oil painting in A.D. 1410. Of this mode the 
cartoons of Raffaelle are the finest remaining 

DRYNESS implies that meagreness of style and 
contour which was the defect of the early painters 
in oil, the colouring hard and flat, the outline stiff 
and ungraceful. The paintings found in some 



of the Egyptian tombs are extreme specimens of 
this term. 

ELEGANCE expresses that happy union of skill 
and taste, where an artist embellishes objects in 
form and colour without departing from the pro- 
priety of nature. That this quality does not 
always depend upon correctness of outline, the 
works of Correggio and Sir J. Reynolds have 
strongly evinced. 

FORESHORTENING. When any figure, or por- 
tion of a figure, or any other object, is so placed 
that its length appears diminished, it is called 
foreshortening. Thus a figure extending an arm 
towards the spectator, the arm becomes fore- 

FRESCO is a mode of painting with water- 
colours on plaister or mortar before it becomes 
quite dry, when the colours, being incorporated 
with the plaister, retain their freshness for ages. 
Of this mode several specimens are yet in exis- 
tence, discovered in Herculaneum and Pompeii. 



GROTESQUE is a term applied to those paintings 
where the imagination has been consulted instead 
of natural forms, as in subjects like the temptation 
of St. Anthony, where non-descripts of the most 
uncouth shapes are depicted. Formerly the term 
was principally given to the antique paintings or 
ornaments which were discovered on the sides 
of grottos, and which were usually of this 

GROUPING is a combination of figures, animals, 
or objects. 

HARMONY, as applicable to painting, means 
the proper agreement with each other of colours, 
lines, lights, and shades, and indeed all the com- 
ponent parts of a picture. 

LOCAL COLOURS are those which most pre- 
dominate, belong to, and particularly characterize 
any object or part of a picture. 

MANNER is the characteristic style of an artist 
by which his works are generally known; but by 



adhering too closely to one mode of painting, 
the works of an artist become too mannered. 
This is a great fault when carried far. 

RELIEF, in painting, is the proper detachment 
of one object from another, as a figure from its 
ground, &c., so as to give to every portion of 
the picture the character of truth and nature with 

STYLE cannot be better defined than it has been 
by Sir J. Reynolds, who says, that " in painting, 
" style is the same as in writing; a power over 
" materials, whether words or colours, by which 
" conceptions or sentiments are conveyed." 

TONE is most commonly used to denote the 
depth or brilliancy of a painting, and is very 
generally used in place of harmony. Thus, if 
some part of a painting be said to be out of tone 
with the rest, it is meant that either the colours, 
lights, or shadows, do not agree with the sur- 
rounding tints, or do not truly represent the 



distance at which the objects ought to appear. 
The word tone is also often used for the prevailing 
hue of a painting, representing the impression of 
particular effects. 



AMONG the great number of artists that have 
lived since the revival of painting, it is remarkable 
how few stand in the first class of their profes- 
sion. For this there must be a cause not wholly 
consisting in the difficulties of the art ; and one 
cannot but be of opinion, that some mistake has 
constantly pursued this large majority, and pre- 
vented them from perceiving in what the chief 
intention of painting consists, as very many, with 
minds powerful and competent to the greatest 
exertions, have failed. 

That it has difficulties when carried to any ex- 


tent will readily be admitted, if we consider that 
a proper knowledge of it includes an acquaintance 
with the external, and often internal properties of 
all visible things, and these under every possible 
aspect and impression. 

There can be little doubt but that one great 
source of error arises from believing the art to 
be something that depends only on a ready use 
of the hand ; that a brilliant or a subdued set of 
colours, a rich fulness of penciling, and some 
other things included under what is technically 
termed handling, compose the chief excellencies 
of painting; in short, placing in the manipulations 
of the art its sole merit. 

To the success of those who continue under 
this misapprehension there is an impassable bar- 
rier, at which, with diligence, they are not long 
in arriving; but for those who, fortunately escaping 
this wrong notion, have been persuaded that 
the intention of painting is altogether an effort 
of the mind and not of the ringers, an unlimited 



progress and constant improvement is opened, 
ending only with their lives. 

The Artist certainly has to learn the fluent 
use of his means, as persons learn to write; but 
he should not make so fatal a mistake as to con- 
sider the means as the end, but whilst learning 
the language of his profession, at the same time 
he must endeavour to find out those principles in 
all things that have any similarity in their uses, 
and which may be suitable to all the various 
classes of living beings, as well as lifeless matter 
operated upon by Nature. 

Quintilian (lib. vii. cap. 10) appears to have 
known this, for he observes that, " by several 
" examples, the order and connexion of things 
" must be shewn; that by continual practice we 
" may still pass on to things of like nature, for 
" it is impossible to explain all things that can 
" be imitated by art, neither is there any painter 
" that has learned to imitate all things, but having 
" once perceived the true manner, he will easily 

" obtain 


" obtain the similitude of such things as come 
" before him." Now this " true manner" is of 
infinite importance : nor can it be obtained by 
any labour of the hand, being dependant alone 
on judgment, or a right mode of seeing and think- 
ing ; and when we are so fortunate as to hit this 
happy method, we discover that Nature's prin- 
ciples of working are based upon the most perfect 
and solid reason. Such is the yielding resistance 
offered to the elements by every plant, with a 
sufficient and appropriate adjustment, as the plant 
increases ; giving a similarity and beautiful fitness 
of construction to all vegetable matter. We find 
this in every thing that Nature does, from her 
chemical operations on what is considered inert 
matter, to the construction of the most intelligent 
beings ; and it is the discovery of this reasoning- 
power in the formation of things at which we 
must aim, for without it all the mechanism of 
lines and colours, or dexterity of hand, will be 
labour in vain. 



This kind of knowledge is obtained from 
Nature only. There is another kind, which is 
to be gained from studying the works of our 
predecessors ; and by observing carefully how 
they arranged their materials for a picture, we 
speedily learn that some modes are better than 
others, and that in all the different modes, a very 
accurate attention to the lineal and aerial per- 
spective is one prominent and leading feature ; 
that the proprieties and decorum of life are 
always observed. If one of a group be repre- 
sented speaking, others who are near him are 
not also represented speaking; or if some are 
inattentive, they are removed a little way from 
the chief actors. 

The feelings and passions are also to be ex- 
pressed with a suitableness to the character of the 
figure depicted : thus the griefs and pleasures of 
the humbler classes must partake in a proper 
degree of their boisterous nature ; yet we are not 
entirely to cut them off from the power of expres- 


sing themselves with grace, and even sometimes 
with elegance. In the same manner, although we 
give to the higher classes their characteristic 
suavity and gentleness of demeanour, we must 
add to this, on some extraordinary occasions, 
more energy of action than the strictest decorum 
perhaps might allow to their rank. But in all 
these things neither the painter nor the poet can 
have any limitation pointed out to him : that tact 
proceeding from a highly cultivated mind, which 
by increased sensibility more readily receives 
impressions, tells both poet and painter that he 
can only succeed on one grand principle, and 
that success in their art will depend, as Cicero 
says when speaking of oratory, on their insight 
into the nature of mankind and all the powers of 

The knowledge of colours, and the various 
modes of using them, is not the end, but rather the 
beginning of painting. They are the artist's lan- 
guage ; fortunately an universal language, which 



all nations can read. He must learn to express 
himself in it with ease, distinctness, simplicity, 
and gracefulness, and he must be careful that 
the whole intention of the picture is expressed in 
a temperate and chastened style, as far removed 
from ostentatiousness and affectation as from 
mawkish insipidity ; infusing a proper degree of 
energy, and yet not too much, for even in a storm, 
or the raging of the most vehement passions, a 
sober dignity is to be preserved. By these means 
the finer distinctions of character may be marked, 
which in a more vulgar style would be entirely 
lost or unseen. 

Dryden, criticising in dramatic writers the ab- 
sence of this necessary sobriety (and probably 
alluding to Nat. Lee), says, " Another had a great 
" genius for tragedy : following the fury of his 
" natural temper, he made every man and woman 
" too stark raging mad ; there was not a sober 
" person to be had for love or money. All was 
" tempestuous and blustering. Heaven and earth 

" were 


" were coming together at every word, a mere 
" hurricane from beginning to the end, and every 
" actor seemed to be hastening on to the day of 
" judgment." 

This exuberance, or more strictly speaking, 
vulgarity, so disagreeable to nature, and the few 
whose opinions being formed upon philosophical 
principles are alone worthy of attention, can only 
be checked by frequent practice in copying, which 
will strengthen the memory, correct the eye, and 
aid in forming a style : also the mind, by this kind 
of practice, if we may be allowed an expression 
borrowed from our art, becomes toned down to a 
healthy state ; its redundancies are corrected ; 
wrong ideas, like chaff, are thrown to the surface 
and discarded imperceptibly ; a precision and 
terseness in the language of the art is gained, hav- 
ing for its foundation a modest simplicity, to which 
grace and elegance most readily unite, making 
altogether that best compound of skill recom- 
mended by Horace, in which art is not perceptible. 

A very 


A very frequent anomaly is found in some who 
can judge well of the works of others, yet who can 
neither perform well, nor say on what principles 
they found their judgment. These we generally 
find ascribe the success of the fortunate to some- 
thing not acquired, but innate, which they call 
genius; forgetting, or never having learned, a 
valuable precept of Sir J. Reynolds, that whatever 
is done well is done by some certain rule, other- 
wise it could not be repeated ; an observation 
containing so much truth, so much instruction, 
and so strongly inculcating the necessity of me- 
thod, that it ought always to be remembered. 

This rule for doing well is only to be found in 
the works of those who have become eminent, 
and from them we must borrow, as the largest 
stock of individual knowledge is small, when com- 
pared with the grand bulk or treasury of human 
learning which has been transmited to us in 
various ways ; and from this we must continue to 
borrow until we may be able to restore the debt. 

c If 


If we can then add a few grains, or a single 
grain of information to that already amassed, 
whether it be in painting or any other science, 
society will have received an advantage. 

As the improvement of any of the sciences or 
arts carries also improvement to all the rest,* it 
would be of some advantage to them, and cer- 
tainly of great and beneficial use to painting, were 
it allied to classic literature by academic honours 
in our Universities. Music and poetry have there 
their professors, and it may be hereafter discovered, 
what to many is already known, that a knowledge 
of drawing and painting can assist some of the 
most important sciences. 

An orator, who will well examine the princi- 
ples on which a good picture is constructed, may 
find many valuable hints which written precepts 
cannot supply. The medical practitioner, in the 
study of pathology, has to depend much on a 


" There is no art which is not either the parent or near relation of 
" another." Tertullian. 


refined power in the discrimination of colours 
and tints, with their various gradations. How fre- 
quently he learns more from these than any thing 
the patient can tell him ! Perhaps, whilst young, 
he may be startled by the deceptive appearance 
which mere change of dress will give ; as when 
a florid patient has increased the colour in his 
face to more than a hectic flush, by simply 
putting on a dress of a powerfully contrasting 
colour, and by other changes of a similar 

That the study of Nature is calculated to give 
the truest ideas on subjects of the greatest utility, 
needs no enforcing; yet we cannot resist the satis- 
faction of giving a remarkable fact in illustration. 

"When Smeaton and his predecessors had tried 
in vain to make a permanent light-house on the 
Eddystone rocks (which lie out in the sea about 
fifteen miles from the coast), after considering with 
dismay the rapid destruction of prior edifices, a 
happy idea occurred to him, by the adoption of 

c 2 which 


which he has been rewarded in the duration of his 
building up to the present time. He had the good 
fortune to perceive it necessary, in a place where 
Nature works with terrific force, to oppose those 
convulsions with one of her own forms, and dis- 
carding the prejudices of science in the search, he 
took our strongest tree, a tree grown in the same 
climate, and amidst similar storms, for his instruc- 
tor and his guide. " He conceived the idea of his 
" edifice from the bole of a large spreading oak. 
" Considering the figure of the tree as connected 
" with its roots, which lie hid below the ground, 
" Mr. Smeaton observed that it rose from the 
" surface with a large swelling base, which at the 
" height of one diameter is generally reduced by 
" an elegant concave curve, to a diameter less by 
" at least one-third, and sometimes to half its 
" original base ; hence he deduced what the shape 
" of a column of the greatest stability ought to be, 
' to resist the action of external violence, when 
'' the quantity of matter of which it is to be com- 

" posed 


" posed is given;" adding, were it wanted, addi- 
tional proof, that whatever is successfully attained 
in any of the arts or sciences has its first elements 
taken from Nature. 

An Architect without a very refined knowledge 
of drawing, must be classed among the handicraft 
occupations of stonemason and bricklayer; for 
architecture is nothing more than drawing or de- 
sign made manifest in some kind of building 
materials, added to a practical knowledge of the 
materials employed. 

In the splendid ruins of ancient temples, and the 
more perfect remains of gothic structure yet exist- 
ing, there are abundant and intrinsic evidences of 
the draughtsman and builder being one person. 
The perfect unity of design and execution which 
pervades these remains, is alone sufficient to prove 
it ; and it must be regretted, for the sake of archi- 
tecture, that at the present day the draughtsman 
and builder are so frequently separate persons, as 
the odium, should there because for any, is too 



easily shifted from one to another, and the merit, 
when it exists, is either too much divided to 
possess any real value, or perhaps absorbed by the 
one least entitled to it. 

Painting is the least generally understood of all 
the arts and sciences, and the reasons are obvious. 
The first arises out of the absence of a well regu- 
lated instruction in those places where instruction 
in all liberal knowledge ought to abound ; where in 
every other department of knowledge it is most 
abundant; and where, if the proper study of paint- 
ing or designing could be added, some students, 
by it, might be induced to think, when all other 
branches of learning, human and divine, had been 
tried in vain, and thus occupy some of those hours 
devoted by many to pursuits of a much less meri- 
torious description.* 

The exquisite charms of poetry and music ren- 
der them worthy of all the honours they receive 
in our universities ; and were painting as gene- 

" Fropter ignorantium artis, virtutes obscurantur." Vitruviua, B. v. 


rally understood, it would be equally favoured, 
for it has also its peculiar uses and charms. Its 
pleasures are conveyed to the mind through the 
sight a sense that affords to us the purest and 
least alloyed of all our enjoyments ; and most are 
aware, that knowledge acquired by vision is more 
perfect, and more lasting, than any which is ac- 
quired by the other senses. 

In a publication of the present year, painting is 
denounced for its abuse, by nations of freer habits 
than our own. On this plea, many of the Greek 
and Latin classics might, with far greater reason, 
be also forbidden, which are still openly read and 
studied in all our public and private schools as 
well as the Universities ; yet he would be called a 
weak logician, who argued that we ought to reject 
the benefits of literature, because it has been so fre- 
quently degraded by a licentiousness, too apparent 
in many of the best classic and other authors. 

Another cause of the want of information on 
painting exists in the great difficulty of finding 



good works for reference or study. Copies of the 
best writers in poetry or prose are to be had every 
where, and at prices that all can command. The 
best musical compositions are as easily obtained, 
and the value of an opera or concert ticket will 
also command specimens of the first performances 
in execution. It is not so with painting : the 
best are only to be found in the galleries of 
princes, the richest amateurs, or metropolitan 
exhibitions. To become acquainted with these, 
much valuable time must be employed, attended 
with expensive journies. Thus it is evident that 
the chief works of art, as well as the true power 
that painting possesses, can never, in the present 
state of things, be so generally known as to include 
them under the items of cheap or common know- 

When Alexander ordered that all the Macedo- 
nian nobility should study this art,* he might 
have (in addition to a real love for it, doubtless 


* Pliny, Book xxxv, chapter ] 0. 


produced by seeing the works of his favourite 
Apelles), some ulterior views or intentions, as to 
its uses in perfecting that invaluable qualification 
in an officer, the military coup d'ceil, on which not 
seldom depends the safety both of armies and of 

Although our zeal would not carry us so far as 
to make it compulsory, nor, like that of the Athe- 
nians in their admiration of painting, forbid the 
study of it to people of servile condition, yet we 
should be glad to see it so understood among the 
well educated, that the feelings of even very mo- 
derate judges might less frequently be offended 
by the sight of works too often beneath contempt, 


* It is in the tempest and in war that the perfect naval officer displays 
the value of that highest degree of tact, which the cultivated mind only 
can receive from experience, when a single glance of the eye, followed by 
one short monysyllable of command, is to give life or death to hundreds of 
human beings placed under his care and protection; and that drawing is 
the most valuable study for this refinement and instantaneous discrimination, 
which the eye must absolutely possess on extraordinary occasions, needs no 
proof. Cicero was aware of it when he said, " How many things do 
painters (pictores) see, whether in shadows or in the highest lights, which 
are not seen by us !" Lib. ix. Academ. qusest. 


but still to be found in many of the houses of the 

We shall conclude these general remarks by a 
partial extract from a talented writer in the 
Edinburgh Review for June 1829, on " Military 
" Education." He says, speaking of drawing, 
44 independently of the practical applications of 
44 this art, it is a most important engine for im- 
" proving the faculty of observation as to all 
" objects of sight, and increasing the power of 
44 memory for such object. The truth is, that to 
44 see clearly what exists, is an art to be acquired 
44 only by practice and experience. It is, in fact, 
44 thus only that all our senses are matured in 
44 those who possess the perfect use of them ; nor 
44 do we say too much when we aver, that the art 
" of seeing is never acquired in perfection for any 
" class of objects, except by him who has acquir- 
" ed the power of representing them through 
44 drawing. They who have not reflected on the 
" subject may be startled at such an assertion; 

44 but 


" but, in reality, it is more the accurate know- 
" ledge or discernment of forms that constitutes an 
" artist, than any mechanical power in representing 
<e them. Whatever ordinary spectators may sup- 
" pose their knowledge of the form of any definite 
" object, of a piece of architecture for example. 
" a tree, or an animal, is in truth very vague and 
" imperfect, and he who will make the trial, so as 
" at length to draw what he was used to look at, 
" will soon convince himself that this is rigidly 
" true. * * * The case is like that of the 
" student of natural history, who habitually sees 
" a multitude of plants or insects that escape the 
" ignorant, though they may be equally present 
" to the eyes of the latter, on which, in reality, 
" they make no more impression than on the eyes 
" of the quadruped. Nothing, indeed, is pro- 
" perly or really seen, which does not convey a 
" distinct and definite idea, that may be recalled 
" or described in all its detail by the observer; 
" and it is a metaphysical truth, that what is 



" commonly called a defective memory, is often 
" nothing but defective observation, or the want 
" of impressions originally definite and com- 
" plete." 

We may venture to add, that if the study of 
this art had no other recommendation than these, 
of improving the faculties of observation and 
memory, and of inducing a habit of thinking more 
deeply on the visible works of the creation, and 
through them of their great Creator, it would 
still be worthy the fostering care granted to the 
sciences, at those seats of learning, whose fiat 
stamps them with a more current value, and 
generally sanctions their pretensions in society. 




IN some writers on painting, each of these words 
is made to comprehend the other two; by others, 
a separate department is given each of them : as 
the outline to design, the placing of figures, 
groups, &c. to composition, and the whole inten- 
tion of the picture in all that relates to the story 
or subject, to invention. 

Of the outline little more can be said, than that 
it ought to be perfect as to form, and agreeably 
varied, so that there may be a sufficient and pro- 
per contrast kept up throughout the piece. Per- 
fection of outline is a circumstance that rarely 



happens in any picture : indeed, some artists have 
been so indifferent on this head, that it might be 
taken for a branch of the art beneath their atten- 
tion ; whilst others have been so solicitous, as to 
produce in their works th^ hard appearance which 
characterizes the earlier epochs of painting. That 
the outline should be as correct as possible need 
not be enforced ; but it most assuredly is a great 
fault, to display it so strongly as to destroy the 
effect of those higher departments to which it is 
only the first grade; for outline alone, where 
correctness is all that is sought, may be called 
mechanical, whilst the rest, in most cases, has to 
proceed entirely from the mind. 

In arranging the outline or subject, we call to 
our aid what is understood by composition, which 
is so employed as to permit every interesting 
object to be sufficiently developed, concealing, or 
sinking into some kind of obscurity, those things 
which are least necessary to the story. 

If the subject be historical, the principal per- 


sonages should be so placed that they and their 
actions may be clearly understood. They are not 
to be crowded ; or if it be necessary that they 
should be surrounded by a multitude, they are to 
be separated from the mass by having the chief 
light placed on them, and by leaving an opening 
in the group in order to display this light, and 
with it the chief actors in the picture. The 
remainder of the figures are to receive light in 
proportion to the share they have in the general 
conduct of the piece. 

Landscape outline, or composition of outline, 
seems to be of little consequence, if we may judge 
from the practice of some of our best landscape 
painters ; and perhaps it may be from this circum- 
stance that so few of the landscape painters have 
excelled. Not fully aware of the ulterior charms 
in this department, they have been discouraged by 
the absence of initiatory beauties in the outset : 
for it not unfrequently happens that a view yields 
little more than a straight light, separating the 



distant land from the sky ; yet a subject as barren 
as this will afford to the adept in chiaro-scuro and 
colouring, an opportunity of shewing his strength, 
as we sometimes see produced out of such simple 
materials, extremely vivid, interesting and scien- 
tific pictures. An outline that is well diversified 
and in a natural manner, will always be more 
agreeable to the eye than a repetition of lines 
without variety ; for the sight is as soon displeased 
or fatigued with monotony and repetition of forms, 
as the ear is with the continual recurrence of the 
same sounds ; and where the outline is deficient, 
the artist has to compensate for it by a judicious 
arrangement of colours with light and shade. 

Much stress has been laid on the pyramidal or 
other modes in the arrangement of lines ; but 
that arrangement which best conducts the sight 
perspectively through the picture to the places 
of interest, and which happens to be the best 
adapted to the subject, is the only universal rule 
that can be given. A small number of rules for 



an infinite variety of subjects must very often be 
in error. 

" Composition, taken generally," says Sir Joshua 
Reynolds, " is the principal part of invention, and 
" is far the greatest difficulty the artist has to 
" encounter. Every man that can paint at all 
" can execute individual parts : but to keep those 
" parts in a due subordination, as relative to a 
" whole, requires a comprehensive view of the art, 
" that more strongly implies genius than, perhaps, 
" any other quality whatever." 

We cannot but be of opinion, that the landscape 
painter has often to draw more largely from his 
own resources than the painter in any other branch. 
If this idea be correct, he has more frequent oppor- 
tunities of shewing greater powers in the imagina- 
tive part of the art. He has the privilege of intro - 
ducing every created thing in nature that may 
serve his purpose, and of adding historical anec- 
dote of the highest interest, or a pastoral story of 
the humblest kind. He may pourtray his figures 

D with 


with all the energy that is suitable to the scene, or 
he may sink them into any degree of insignificance 
that their occupations seem to require: in short, he 
may make more episodes than is allowable in the 
composition of a picture which is purely historical. 
Simplicity of construction in every branch of 
painting will be found the best mode of making a 
powerful impression. This simplicity is discover- 
able in all our best historical pictures, where the 
greatest number of figures exist, as in the Cartoons 
of Raffaelle, where the chief interest is confined to 
a very small number of actors. In the pictures 
of ' St. Paul preaching at Athens,' and the' Death 
of Annanias,' the most unlearned in painting will 
be able to point out those parts which only have 
the greatest interest : the rest are merely acces- 
sories, giving support to the principal action of the 
piece by their expression and attitudes. 

Richardson, in his treatise on painting, describes 
several pictures under the head composition, but 
which might have been described with more pro- 


priety under that of chiaro-scuro, did he not 
include in the word composition almost every 
thing belonging to the completion of a picture. 
" In the ' Descent from the Cross,' by Rubens," he 
says, " the Saviour is the principal figure. This 
" being naked and about the centre of the picture, 
" would have been distinguished as the heighten- 
" ing of this mass of light : but not content with 
" that, and to raise it still more, this judicious 
" master has added a sheet in which the body lies, 
" and which is supposed to be useful to deliver it 
" down safely, as well as to carry it off afterwards. 
" But the main design is what I am observing, 
" and for that it is admirably introduced." 

In the following extract from the same writer, 
it will be seen that he allows colour, also, a prin- 
cipal place in composition. " Sometimes a figure 
" has to hold a place which does not sufficiently 
" distinguish it ; in that case, the attention must 
" be awakened by the colour of its drapery or part 
" of it, or by the ground on which it is painted, 

D 2 "or 


" or some other artifice. Scarlet, or some vivid 
" colour, is proper on such occasions. I think I 
" have met with an instance of this kind from 
" Titian in a * Bacchus and Ariadne :'* her figure 
" is thus distinguished, for the reason I have given. 
" And in a picture by Albano, our Lord is seen at 
" a distance as coming towards some of his disci- 
" pies, and though a small figure, is nevertheless 
" the most apparent, in the picture, by being placed 
<f on a rising ground, and painted upon the bright 
(t part of the sky, just above the horizon." 

The readiest way of making the composition of 
a picture complete, certainly is that adopted by 
Rubens, and recommended by Sir J. Reynolds ; 
which is, instead of being content with a mere 
outline, or an outline finished in light and shade, 
to paint the whole subject slightly from the first. 

He says : " This method of painting the sketch, 
" instead of merely drawing it on paper, will give 
" a facility in the management of colours and in 

" the 

* Now in the National Gallery. 


" the handling, which the Italian painters, not 
" having this custom, wanted. By habit, he will 
" acquire equal skill in doing two things at a 
" time, as in doing only one. 

" An artist, as I have said on another occasion, 
" if possible, should paint all his studies, and 
" consider drawing only as a succedaneum when 
" colours are not at hand. This was the practice 
" of the Venetian painters, and of all those who 
" have excelled in colouring. Correggio used this 
" manner. The method of Rubens was to sketch 
" his composition in colours, with all the parts 
" more determined than sketches generally are. 
" From this sketch scholars advanced the picture 
" as far as they were capable, from which he 
" retouched the whole himself. 

" The painter's operation may be divided into 
" three parts : the planning, which implies the 
" sketch of the general composition ; the trans- 
" ferring that design to the canvas ; and the 
" finishing or retouching the whole. If, for dis- 

" patch, 


" patch, the artist looks out for assistance, it is in 
" the middle stage only that he can receive it : 
" the first and last operations must be the work 
" of his own hand." 

The rules of composition for historical, as well 
as landscape paintings, are most quickly learned 
by inspecting the large works of the best mas- 
ters ; and when these cannot be seen, good prints 
will give valuable information. Annibal Carracci 
was of opinion, that a perfect composition should 
not have more than twelve figures ; that out of 
these might be made three groups, and that more 
would destroy the grandeur of the piece. 

In composition of all kinds, if any thing imper- 
tinent be introduced it will distract, and if of any 
amount, destroy the subject; the artist, there- 
fore, must be cautious that his figures pay atten- 
tion to the chief interest of the piece. If a figure 
be made to look out of the picture it becomes 
ludicrous: as in a picture by Rubens, where 
satyrs are represented dancing, a female looks at 




the spectacle in a manner that adds considerably 
to the grotesque air of the whole ; and in a picture 
by Titian, one of the panthers which draws the 
car of Bacchus fixes a single eye on the spectator, 
and considerably enlivens the animal and the sub- 
dued part of the picture where it stands. This 
picture of * Bacchus and Ariadne ' is in the Na- 
tional Gallery, as has been before noticed. 

Variety of attitudes is to be studied for the sake 
of contrast : but rather than carry this too far, as 
Rubens has certainly done in his picture repre- 
senting the Fall of the Damned at the Last Day, it 
would be much better to preserve the simplicity 
of the early painters, who seldom attempted more 
than a natural and unconstrained attitude. 

Perhaps the shortest definition we can give of 
invention is, that it consists in arranging those 
ideas which the mind has amassed in its various 
studies, and in making fresh combinations out of 
old materials. Thus it will be evident, that an 
artist must not only study diligently the works of 



others, but should also be in the habit of much 
and appropriate reading ; for it is plain, that he 
who gathers most ideas must have the greatest 
powers of invention, and the most refined inven- 
tion can only proceed from a mind very highly 

Dryden, in his parallel between poetry and 
painting, gives, in his lively manner, the first place 
to invention ; and, as absolutely necessary to both, 
he states, " yet no rule was, or ever can be 
" given, how to compass it. A happy genius is 
" the gift of Nature : it depends on the influence 
" of the stars, say the astrologers; on the organs 
" of the body, say the naturalists; it is the par- 
" ticular gift of heaven, say the divines, both 
" Christians and Heathens. How to improve it, 
" many books can teach us ; how to obtain it, 
" none ; that nothing can be done without it, all 
" agree. Tu nihil invitd, dices faciesve, Minerva." 

Without invention, a painter is but a copier 
and a poet but a plagiary of others. Both are 



allowed sometimes to copy and translate ; but, as 
our author Fresnoy, on painting, tells you, " that 
" is not the best part of their reputation."..." Imi- 
" tators are but a servile kind of cattle, or at least 
" the keepers of cattle for other men : they have 
" nothing which is properly their own." 

Under this head (Invention) is placed the dis- 
position of the work, and such harmonious ar- 
rangement of all things, that the story of the 
picture may be perfect, and entirely devoid of 
whatever can distract the attention from the prin- 
cipal purpose of the artist. 


THE extraordinary power which the eye pos- 
sesses, of excluding all other things when bend- 
ing its greatest strength of vision on any particular 
object, or part of an object, is highly interesting, 
and has here to be considered, being the leading 
principle upon which chiaro-scuro is based. 

If the object be darker than the surrounding 
matter against which it is seen (in painting called 
the ground), it will, on a close scrutiny, appear 
encompassed by a faint halo of comparative light, 
affording, in the greatest darkness which is not 
total, a distinct view of the outline of the object, 
by a double operation. First, by the halo above 
mentioned ; and secondly, by an appearance of 
increased or greater darkness at the edges of the 



object, than farther within the outline or near its 
centre. Should the object or figure be lighter 
than its ground, the converse of the whole takes 
place : for the ground which is in contrast with 
the object will then be darkest round its outline, 
and the edges of the object will be lighter than 
its centre. Although all feel the benefit, few are 
aware of this admirable property in the eye, de- 
pendant alone on its internal structure. That 
reflection from the back of the figure has nothing 
to do with it, may be shewn by attaching a small 
piece of dark paper to a larger piece not so dark, 
or the contrary, and then looking on either with 
attention for a few moments when placed at a 
convenient distance, having in remembrance that 
the greater the distance the less distinctly will 
this effect be seen, on account of the intervening 
column of air, which always operates in the usual 
manner of aerial perspective. 

This quality in the laws of vision is invaluable, 
when we consider the great safety and protection 



afforded by it in dubious light or darkness; 
doubtless given alike to all creatures that see (per- 
haps most powerfully to animals which prowl by 
night), and in which we perceive another proof 
of the infinite wisdom that the Almighty has em- 
ployed in the construction of the universe, and of 
the incomprehensible means he has used for the 
safety and well-being of all his creatures. That 
these operations of the eye are mechanical, we 
believe cannot be doubted ; but we have not yet 
met with any work in which some of these nicer 
phenomena of vision are reduced into any thing 
like a satisfactory theory ; and perhaps they must 
ever remain amongst the innumerable circum- 
stances which are as much beyond our finite 
capacities as the production of a blade of grass. 
Still we may gain much by studying the activity 
of the eye, its conclusive mode of reasoning, or 
rather the vast power it has, when cultivated, of 
forming true conclusions, apparently without the 
necessity of reasoning, proceeding from that 



power which we may call unconscious know- 
ledge. These things, well considered, will ad- 
vance the artist in the study of his arduous pro- 
fession, much more than the common-place atten- 
tions which are too frequently paid to the mere 
manipulations of the art, as it is on these niceties 
of light and shade that the picture has to depend 
for all that is to give life, and the piquancy to that 
portion of the effect which comes under the head 

Without this knowledge, the artist must conti- 
nually fall into error ; for on many occasions, he 
might be led to believe that shadows appear per- 
fectly equal, or lights of the same brilliancy on a 
level surface. Knowing this to be the fact, and 
representing them so, he would represent an un- 
natural appearance : for although abstractedly it 
is the case, yet we do not see them in this manner, 
and to the eye things only exist as they are seen ; 
therefore, before we attempt to represent any thing 
we must be aware of the manner in which we see it. 



As we can only see distinctly that which appears 
in the centre of vision, all other objects are seen by 
indirect rays, consequently less distinctly. This 
may be one cause of the seeming inequality of 
shadows, lights, and colours ; but the cause why 
two colours in opposition, or a light and shadow, 
should appear more intense by juxtaposition, does 
not so readily manifest itself. Indeed, so strongly 
does contrast bring out colours, that any pale 
colour may be rendered visible by having its pro- 
per contrast near it, or invisible, by the absence of 
the contrasting colour; and a set of graduating 
shades may be so arranged, that the sight will 
easily embrace in a direct view several of them at 
once and the effect of increased and decreased in- 
tensity where they join will be apparent in all at 
the same time, taking the appearance of the deli- 
cate shadows in the flutings of a Doric column. 
Cover with two pieces of paper all the shades ex- 
cept any one, and the shade tint under examina- 
tion will be immediately restored to its equal or 



level appearance : a condition which it always 
actually preserves, but which cannot be detected 
whilst the rest are visible.* 

The words chiaro-scuro are commonly trans- 
lated " light and shade ;" but a better interpreta- 
tion, perhaps, might be " light-obscure," as the 
term is used not only to express the lights and 
shadows of a picture, but also all those colours 
which have a sombre effect, and which cannot be 
called absolutely dark. 

It is the intention of a good picture to tell its 
story distinctly and intelligibly, avoiding all things 
that will disturb the attention. This, without a 
good knowledge of chiaro-scuro, cannot be done ; 
for, unless the artist strictly adheres to the leading 
principles of this department of the art, his 
labour will be thrown away. His first endea- 
vour must be to obtain unity of light and shade, 
by so massing his lights and most agreeable 
colours on the chief part of the picture, that 


* " Contraria juxta seposita, roagis elucescunt." 


the eye may dwell on it with undisturbed satis- 

If in a picture a variety of objects are given of 
equal light, and scattered at regular intervals over 
the piece, it approaches in some degree the nature 
of a chess-board, where the alternations of black 
and white are so exact in size and power, that the 
eye wanders over the surface, finding not a single 
point of interest on which it can rest. 

The quantity of dark shade usually allowed in 
painting is about one-quarter ; another quarter is 
allowed for light, and the remainder for middle 
tint. But this rule is not absolute, depending on 
the nature of the subject and the impression to be 

Rembrandt allowed a much greater proportion 
to his dark tints, in order to gain the greatest pos- 
sible brilliancy for his lights ; and he carried his 
method so far, that the spectator is frequently im- 
pressed, on beholding many of his works, with 
the idea of a dungeon into which the light pene- 


trates with difficulty, throwing an expression of 
sadness over the whole, sometimes unsuited to 
the subject, and always depressing to the feelings. 
In many excellent pictures we see the greatest 
part occupied by middle tint, with very little of 
positive light or dark ; and in others we find a 
preponderating quantity of light. Each of these 
methods is, of course, intended to convey parti- 
cular feelings or impressions. 

It is considered necessary to have two or three 
groups of light ; but they must be varied in their 
size, form, and degrees of power, and the breadth 
of the shadows is to be so well preserved, that 
they may serve as places of repose to the eye, 
separating the groups of chiaro-scuro from each 

Frederico Baroccio, Carlo Bonone, Guercino, the 
Carracci, and others, desirous of rivalling the great 
variety of tints which Correggio has employed 
and so exquisitely blended by his pencil, depended 
to such an extent on the proper distribution of 

E light 


light and shade, that in order to obtain an accurate 
composition in their chiaro-scuro, they followed the 
method used by him, in forming small statues of 
clay or wax, arranging the positions, attitudes, 
and foldings of the draperies, grouping them 
according to the disposition they were to hold in 
the picture, and lastly, subjecting them to an 
artificial light, in order to choose the best effects. 

When unity of light is carried to so great an 
extreme, as we often find in some of the pictures 
of Rembrandt (magical as they all are), repose is 
almost lost by the eye being continually recalled 
to this isolated light, and it is to prevent this sin- 
gleness that other groups of light are admitted. 

If the secondary light be made of nearly the 
same strength as the primary, it should not 
approach it in size. The rest are to be more 
diminished, both in form and size; and again, 
from these should be spread out those accidental 
lights which prevent monotony in the shadows, 
add interest to the portions of the picture which 



without them might become insipid, and make the 
reposes useful in carrying forward the story, or in 
giving episodes in character with the whole. 

By the term " repose" is simply implied those 
parts of the picture, either in deep shadow or 
middle tint, where lights, shadows, and colours, 
are so subdued, that the eye can rest upon them 
without fatigue, after the excitation produced by 
the brilliancy and effect of the principal parts. 

However objects may be scattered throughout 
the picture, they are to be so grouped and col- 
lected together, that although each is to have its 
particular light and shadow, yet the lights should 
generally mass together as well as the shadows. 
To illustrate this, Titian refers to the effect on a 
bunch of grapes, where each grape has its own 
light and shade, yet it forms only one member of 
a mass, and the whole mass, considered as such, 
has only one light side and one dark, causing an 
unity of effect that is always agreeable. 

It is by masses of light that the eye is prevented 
E 2 from 


from dissipating its powers in a vague and un- 
settled wandering over the surface of the picture ; 
and we must endeavour to fix it by a satisfactory 
combination of chiaro-scuro, by a harmony and 
contrast of colours, and by opposition of shade tint, 
or of obscure colours which may have the same 
effect, sufficiently wide to prevent the masses of 
light from crowding into the eye, at the same time 
making what is called a repose between the lights. 
These groups of shadows are to be so managed 
that the unity of light may be preserved. 

A picture may be considered as a collection of 
foci, or points of vision, holding their places in a 
series of gradations, and subject to one great con- 
trolling focus, the centre of effect; itself composed 
of innumerable foci of various colours and degrees 
of light. These united make the chief light ; the 
second and tertiary are to be subject, and inferior 
in power as they descend in the scale of the great 
total ; and their minor, or accidental lights, should 
be so arranged, that they do not hurt the breadth 



or repose of each mass. So that we might almost 
pronounce each collection of light in itself a whole 
picture, but by its connexion and subordination 
making an essential part of a greater picture. 
Wouvermans, Wynants, Claude, Cuyp, and many 
others, finished their works so well in this respect, 
that any small portion taken out of one of their 
pictures would explain that it was a portion from 
the work of an eminent master. 

The following extract from Sir Joshua Reynolds 
is too valuable to be omitted. "The Dutch painters 
" particularly excelled in the management of light 
" and shade, and have shewn in this department 
" that consummate skill which entirely conceals 
" the appearance of art. Jan Steen, Teniers, 
" Ostade, Dusart, and many others of that school, 
" may be produced as instances, and recom- 
" mended to the young artist's careful study and 
" attention. The means by which the painter 
" works, and on which the effect of his picture 
" depends, are light and shade, warm and cold 

" colours. 


" colours. That there is an art in the manage- 
" ment and disposition of those means will be 
" easily granted, and equally certain, that this 
"art is to be acquired by a careful examination 
" of the works of those who have excelled in it. 

" I shall here set down the result of observa- 
" tions which I have made on the works of those 
" artists who appear to have best understood the 
" management of light and shade, and who may 
" be considered as examples for imitation in this 
" branch of the art. 

'' Titian, Paolo Veronese, and Tintoret, were 
" among the first painters who reduced to a sys- 
" tern, what was before practised without any 
" fixed principle, and consequently neglected 
" occasionally. From the Venetian painters Ru- 
" bens extracted his scheme of composition, which 
" was soon understood and adopted by his coun- 
" trymen, and extended even to the minor 
" painters of familiar life in the Dutch school. 

" When I was at Venice, the method I took to 

" avail 


" avail myself of their principles was this : When 
" I observed an extraordinary effect of light and 
" shade in any picture, I took a leaf of my pocket- 
" book and darkened every part of it in the same 
" gradations of light and shade as the picture, 
" leaving the white paper untouched to represent 
" the light, and this without any attention to 
" the subject or to the drawing of the figures. A 
" few trials of this kind will be sufficient to give 
" the method of their conduct in the management 
" of their lights. After a few experiments I 
" found the paper blotted nearly alike. Their 
" general practice appeared to be, to allow not 
" above a quarter of the picture for the light, 
" including in this portion both the principal and 
" secondary lights ; another quarter to be as dark 
" as possible, and the remaining half kept in 
" mezzo-tint, or half shadow. 

" Rubens appears to have admitted rather 
" more light than a quarter, and Rembrandt much 
" less, scarce an eighth. By this conduct Rem- 

" brandt's 


" brandt's light is extremely brilliant, but it costs 
" too much ; the rest of the picture is sacrificed 
" to this one object. That light will certainly 
" appear the brightest which is surrounded with 
" the greatest quantity of shade, supposing equal 
" skill in the artist. 

" By this means you may likewise remark the 
" various forms and shapes of those lights, as well 
" as the object on which they are flung : whether 
" a figure, or the sky, a white napkin, animals, 
" or utensils, often introduced for this purpose 
" only. It may be observed, likewise, what por- 
" tion is strongly relieved, and how much is 
" united with its ground ; for it is necessary that 
" some part (though a small one is sufficient) 
" should be sharp and cutting against its ground, 
" whether it be light on a dark, or dark on a light 
" ground, in order to give firmness and distinct- 
" ness to the work; if, on the other hand, it is 
" relieved on every side, it will appear as if inlaid 
" on its ground. Such a blotted paper, held at a 

" distance 


" distance from the eye, will strike the spectator 
" as something excellent for the disposition of 
" light and shadow, though he does not distinguish 
" whether it is a history, a portrait, a landscape, 
"dead game, or anything else; for the same 
" principles extend to every branch of the art. 

" Whether I have given an exact account, or 
" made a just division of the quantity of light 
" admitted into the works of those painters, is of 
" no very great consequence. Let every person 
" examine and judge for himself: it will be suffi- 
" cient if I have suggested a mode of examining 
" pictures this way, and one means at least of 
" acquiring the principles on which they wrought." 

In the above quotation we find an objection to 
figures and objects appearing as if inlaid in their 
grounds, that is, to their being surrounded by light 
or shade, in such manner as to make them stand 
from those parts of the picture which join them. 
Many of the older masters did this to a great 
degree, and some of the pictures of Raffaelle, 



Leonardo da Vinci, and others, are not without 
this fault. Albert Durer, and the whole of his 
school, had it in excess. If we cannot have rich- 
ness of chiaro-scuro and detail at the same time, 
it is better to sacrifice a portion of the latter for 
the sake of the former, than to lose the splendour 
of effect, which is got by blending appropriate 
masses of light into masses of shadow. 

Some relief is necessary ; and our rule should 
be, to preserve the most beautiful or interesting 
portions of the picture in sufficient relief, and to 
sink the rest into the neighbouring masses of mid- 
dle tint or dark shadow ; thus we gain a fulness 
and richness of chiaro-scuro, that holds a much 
higher rank in painting than a meagre detail of 
forms, and is more in accordance with the laws 
of vision ; and as Sir J. Reynolds says, when 
recommending the higher excellences, " If you 
" compass them, and compass nothing more, you 
" are still in the first class. We may regret the 
" innumerable beauties which you may want : 

" you 


" you may be very imperfect, but still you are an 
" imperfect artist of the highest order." 

Perhaps the force of a well-constructed chiaro- 
scuro is most seen in the works of Correggio. 
Fuseli describes the harmony of Correggio as en- 
tirely dependant on his splendid management of 
light and shade, and that his effect owes nothing 
to the colouring, notwithstanding the exquisite 
hues he employed ; and also compares those won- 
derful effects to the " bland central light of a 
" globe imperceptibly gliding through lucid demi- 
" tints into rich reflected shadows." 

Correggio's compositions are always so com- 
plete, that his pictures, whether of the largest or 
smallest size, are perfect in unity of effect. 


OF the nature of colours, nearly all we know is, 
that they exist in various tinted rays, which com- 
bined make pure or colourless light. Could the 
artist be made acquainted with their physical or 
first cause, and how objects receive their colours, 
he might obtain some advantages, for they are not 
so splendidly and lavishly displayed throughout 
the works of Nature without some great meaning, 
otherwise their existence would seem only for our 
amusement instead of instruction. 

The language of colours is infinitely expressive, 
and their expression and intention have to be well 
studied for much important knowledge is often 
conveyed to the mind by the finer gradations of 
which they are capable. It is by colours that 



the nicest judgment is quickened, and by these 
nature acts upon our most refined perceptions and 
sympathies. We see health developed in colours 
that cannot be mistaken ; we find the emotions of 
the soul expressed in appropriate tints ; the warm 
flush of all the ardent passions, or the pallid tints 
of sickness, of terror, with all the concurrent hues 
of sadness, impressively increased in the cold blue 
whiteness of the dead. 

This analogy pervades the whole system of Na- 
ture. The gloom of the approaching storm is ex- 
pressed by the same melancholy appearance, and 
in its commencement is gently indicated to the 
spectator by a gradual diminution of that healthy 
tint which Nature possesses in her quietness. 
Again, the cheerful tranquillity of an autumnal or 
summer's eve is shewn by an harmonious arrange- 
ment of the richest and sweetest colours that can 
be found ; all those which are generally pro- 
nounced to be unpleasing and expressive of the 
harsher feelings are banished, and the scene, 



whether at sea or on shore, amongst mountains, 
rocks, or forest glades, appears to rejoice in one 
universal expression of gladness, such as colours 
only can indicate, and those in the hands of one 
who has long and successfully studied their use. 
They are, as Opie says in one of his lectures, " the 
" sunshine of art that clothes poverty in smiles, 
" and renders the prospect of barrenness itself 
" agreeable, while it heightens the interest and 
" doubles the charms of beauty." 

A picture should be an assemblage of warm 
and cold colours, with all the gradations between 
the two, so disposed by the assistance of lights 
and shadows as to form large masses of tints, 
some opposing, others agreeing with each other. 
These are again divided into smaller masses, also 
opposing and agreeing; and this is continued, 
one within another, until every appearance of con- 
trivance is lost, and the whole together takes that 
harmonious and artless appearance, which so ex- 
clusively belongs to natural effects. At the same 



time, the whole piece is so subjected to the first 
intention, that whatever impression or sentiment 
was to have been conveyed, is fulfilled by all 
things in the picture working together for one end. 

If the subject be cheerful the colours must be so, 
and the sombre greys, purple, black, dark reds, or 
browns, must be very sparingly used : these tints 
are better suited to subjects of a sullen or dismal 
aspect. If the picture is to represent a cold at- 
mosphere, no more warm colours are to be used 
than are sufficient to give force to the colder tints ; 
and where a warm effect is to be produced, the 
contrary method must be pursued. The warm and 
glowing style of colouring is so generally esteemed, 
that Sir Joshua Reynolds gives directions in his 
admirable lectures for no other method. 

In his notes on Du Fresnoy he observes : " The 
" predominant colours of the picture ought to be 
" of a warm mellow kind, red or yellow, and no 
" more cold colour should be introduced than will 
" be just enough to serve as a ground, or a foil to 

" set 


" set off and give value to the mellow colours, and 
" never should itself be a principal. For this a 
" quarter of the picture will be sufficient. The 
" cold colours, whether blue, grey, or green, are 
" to be dispersed about the ground or surround- 
" ing parts of the picture, wherever it has the ap- 
" pearance of wanting such a foil, but sparingly 
" employed in the mass of light." 

In another place he gives the same instruc- 
tions. " It ought, in my opinion," he says, " to 
" be indispensably observed, that the masses of 
" light in a picture be always of a warm mellow 
" colour, yellow, red, or yellowish white, and 
" that the blue, the grey, or green colours be 
" kept almost entirely out of these masses, and 
" be used only to support and to set off the warm 
" colours ; and for this purpose a small proportion 
" of cold colours will be sufficient." 

It cannot but be well understood by every one, 
that Sir Joshua, in these general rules, recom- 
mends that method which is most consonant to 



nature, and consequently best calculated to meet 
the public eye. With his knowledge, and the 
opportunities he had of seeing the best works, it is 
impossible but that he should be well aware of all 
the powers and properties of colours, and that by 
a judicious arrangement every variety of atmos- 
phere, from absolute cold to its opposite, heat, 
might be with equal propriety represented, and 
with equal force. 

It is well known to artists, that certain colours 
must be opposed or united to others, to produce 
any given or required effects : in other words, 
that particular combinations and oppositions of 
colours will produce certain results and impres- 
sions on the mind, founded in the propriety of all 
natural appearances. Their effect on the eye, 
considered only as an organ, is mechanical ; for 
when the sight has been fatigued by resting long 
on one colour, the opposite colour (its contrast) 
serves as a repose, as darkness relieves the eye 
when weakened with too much light, and the 

F converse. 


converse. If the operations on the organs of 
vision be carried on by action upon substance, 
as fibre, &c., which appears to be most probable, 
then we may attempt to explain the effect of co- 
lours and their contrasts, by comparing the effect 
of a colour long seen, or seen in a large quantity, 
and the consequent weariness of the sight, to the 
fatigue which the muscles of the body feel when 
some particular set have been long engaged in 
one continued exercise ; and the sense of rest or 
relief that the eye gains, by contemplating the 
opposite to the colour which caused its weariness, 
may be compared to the rest and satisfaction of 
the body, on commencing an exercise which calls 
into action another set of muscles or limbs, the 
opposite to those already fatigued. Such is the 
relief the eye feels in contemplating purple after 
yellow, green after red, black after white, &c. 
or the reverse. Again, when many of these con- 
trasts are brought together in a violent or harsh 
manner, the sight is distracted, and may, by a 



bad painting, be made to feel as much fatigue 
as that which is produced in the body by calling 
into violent action all the muscles of the frame 
at the same moment. We here speak only of 
that sight which has been cultivated, which is wide 
awake to all the charms of the visible creation, and 
not of that which sees things and scarcely knows 
that it sees them. 

Aware of the above facts, the artist gets rid of 
many difficulties in the construction of his picture. 
He must avoid monotony, or a too frequent repeti- 
tion of the same colour ; he will also be careful not 
to fill his picture too full of contrasts, the opposite 
error to monotony, but should reserve the power- 
ful stimulus of contrast for those parts of his pic- 
ture which he wishes to make of interest and to 
bring into life. 

The skilful mixture of chiaro-scuro with colouring- 
is irresistible ; for the artist can with certainty fix 
the eye of the spectator on any part of his picture by 
these alone, even when divested of subject or story. 

r2 It 


It is not an easy task to lay down an absolute 
theory of colouring, when we consider the diffe- 
rent styles used by different masters, all of whom 
are considered good, yet differing so greatly that 
we can hardly institute any comparison between 

Amongst the greatest colourists, we must enu- 
merate Titian, Pordenone, Rembrandt, Rubens, 
Giorgione, Jacomo Bassano, Correggio, Jordaens, 
Tintoret, Paolo Veronese, Vandyke ; and so few 
among the landscape painters, that one might be 
justified in believing that good colouring in land- 
scape is of more difficult attainment than in his- 
torical painting. In this department Claude Lor- 
raine, Gaspar Poussin, Salvator Rosa, Hobbima, 
Rysdall, and a few others are to be included. 

It was Titian's practice to have all his lights of 
a warm yellowish hue, as if enlightened by the 
setting sun ; others have made their highest lights 
of a pure white : so that a picture by Titian, as Sir 
J. Reynolds observes, makes all others that may 



happen to be near it, of a grey, or cold appear- 

In landscape, Titian's method has been followed 
by some with much success. His distances pos- 
sess that sparkling and clear effect which is found 
under the best state of atmosphere, and his fore- 
grounds have an individuality about them, which 
proceeds from the brown and earthy colours he 
employed in the front of his picture. 

Claude Lorraine, who is generally esteemed as 
the head of the landscape painters, gained his 
brilliancy in skies sometimes by an artifice that is 
not always sufficiently concealed. Where he has 
avoided it, his skies are equally splendid and 
more easily contemplated. We allude to his prac- 
tice of occasionally placing a very dark object 
near the sun. This certainly produces the utmost 
light that colour is capable of giving ; but the very 
intense opposition thus created is always painful 
if it make any approach to nature, and moreover 
destroys all the rest of the picture, notwithstand- 


ing the greatest skill which may be employed to 
counteract the evil. Many artists have followed 
him in this mode of creating a strong light in the 
sun or sky, but very rarely with his success ; and 
where the success is not eminent the failure is 
invariably great. 

The Venetians have always been considered the 
first colourists, although some of them, as Tintoret, 
Paolo Veronese, and a few others, were suspected 
by Sir Joshua Reynolds to have painted for no 
other purpose than to be admired for their expert- 
ness in the use of colours, and the display of that 
art which ought always to be concealed. 

There is in the paintings of this school a 
brilliancy of light, supposed to spring from the use 
of pure and unmixed colours, in the first operations, 
which being repeated with a certain degree of 
transparency, produced that internal light so 
essential to brightness. 

In his lights, Titian used rich and glowing 
colours, avoiding dark masses of shade in those 



portions of the figure which were naked. He 
always gave in his portraits the most power to 
those features capable of the greatest expression, 
as the mouth, the eyes, and nose. His colours 
were few and simple, but he knew well how to 
arrange them. It has been stated as his opinion, 
that any one desirous of becoming a good colourist 
must be well acquainted with three colours, viz. 
white, red, and black. He also knew, as well 
as Giorgione, the value of the three primitives, 
azure, red, and yellow : that the first belongs to 
shadows, that yellow is the representative (in 
colour) of light, and that red is their connecting 
link. This gradation is perceived to the greatest 
advantage in those fine evening skies, where we 
see the yellow tints of the horizon about the sun 
graduated into rose tint, and this again into the 
azure of the zenith. 

Leonardi da Vinci reduced the number of colours 
to two, white and black, the representatives of 
light and darkness ; and between them made a 



gradation of six colours, as white, yellow, green, 
red, blue, black. Modern artists have, however, 
reduced this number to five, if we include white 
and black ; but as these are generally not consi- 
dered colours, there will only remain the three 
primitives, blue, red, and yellow. These only 
are called primitives, as with them all other tints 
and colours may be made ; and also, without any 
one of the three, nothing like the colour left out 
can be produced by the other two, even if we 
admit white and black. It is also remarkable, 
that the mixture of any two will make an opposite 
or perfect contrast to the colour left out ; as with 
blue and yellow we obtain green, the contrast to 
red ; with red and blue we have purple, the con- 
trast to yellow ; and lastly, by mixing red and 
yellow, orange is created, the contrasting colour 
to blue : again, if we mix the three together in 
certain proportions, black is the product; or 
mixed in other proportions, a shade tint is gained, 
suitable to any of the tints or colours which can 



be produced : and however the Venetian, Italian, 
and Flemish artists might theorize, we see in their 
practice that they understood the above scale in 
its utmost perfection ; for in splendour, harmony, 
and judicious contrast, all that colours can do they 
have apparently achieved. 

We have given below a table of contrasts, which 
may be varied ad infinitum by subdivision of tints, 
and also by difference in degrees of light, or depth 
of each tint, or its opposing colour. 

Colours arranged in contrast. 

YELLOW Purple. 

Yellow Orange Blue Purple. 

Orange BLUE. 

Red Orange Blue Green. 

Dark Orange* Olive Green. 

RED Green. 

Russet Brownf ...Dark Green. 

Red Purple Yellow Green. 

Dark Purple Brown. J 


* Raw Umber. f Madder Brown. J Vandyke Brown. 


The cool tints are those made with blue and 
yellow, or blue and red ; the warm colours are 
those composed of yellow and red. But many 
tints may have blue in them without being cold, 
as some of the greys, autumnal greens, &c. 

The colours of the rainbow also seem to be made 
from the three primitive colours. The following 
is the order in which they stand, with Sir I. New- 
ton's proportions, taking the whole at 360 parts : 
-Violet 80, Red 45, Orange 27, Yellow 48, 
Green 60, Blue 60, Indigo 40. 

There are two modes by which grandeur in 
colouring may be obtained, which are widely dif- 
ferent. One consists in reducing the colours 
nearly to a state of light and shade, according to 
the practice of the Bolognese school ; the other, 
by preserving the colours in a forcible and bril- 
liant condition, as practised by the artists of Flo- 
rence and Rome. The distinct colours, blue, red, 
and yellow, of the Roman school, have a striking 
eftect, and from their opposition make an impres- 


sion of magnificence, widely differing from that 
which is caused by the monotonous tints of the 
Bolognian school : yet both are founded in sim- 
plicity, and it is hard to say which is the most 
impressive. These critiques on the different modes 
of grandeur in colouring agree essentially with 
similar opinions expressed by Sir J. Reynolds, 
from whom we shall borrow an extract on the dif- 
ferent modes of attaining harmony. He says : 
" All the modes of harmony, or of producing that 
" effect of colours which is required in a picture, 
" may be reduced to three; two of which belong 
" to the grand style, and the other to the orna- 
" mental. The first maybe called the Roman 
" manner, where the colours are of a full and 
" strong body, such as are found in the ' Trans- 
" figuration ;' the next is that harmony which is 
" produced by what the ancients called the cor- 
" ruption of the colours, by mixing and breaking 
" them till there is a general union in the whole. 
" This may be called the Bolognian style; and it 



" is this hue and effect of colours, which Ludovico 
" Carracci seems to have endeavoured to produce, 
" though he did not carry it to that perfection 
" which we have seen since his time in the small 
" works of the Dutch school, particularly Jan 
" Steen, where art is completely concealed, and 
" the painter, like a great orator, never draws the 
" attention from the subject on himself. The last 
" manner belongs properly to the ornamental style, 
" which we call the Venetian, being first practised 
" at Venice ; but it is perhaps better learned 
" from Rubens. Here the brightest colours pos- 
" sible are admitted, with the two extremes of 
" warm and cold, and those reconciled by being 
" dispersed over the picture, till the whole appears 
" like a bunch of flowers. 

"As I have given instances from the Dutch 
" school, where the art of breaking colour may be 
" learned, we may recommend here an atten- 
" tion to the works of Watteau for excellence in 
" this florid style of painting. 

" To 


" To all these different manners there are some 
" general rules that never must be neglected. 
" First that the same colour which makes the 
" largest mass, be diffused, and appear to revive 
" in different parts of the picture ; for a single 
" colour will make a spot or blot. Even the dis- 
" persed flesh colour, which the faces and hands 
' occasion, requires a principal mass, which is 
" best produced by a naked figure : but where 
" the subject will not allow of this, a drapery ap- 
" preaching to flesh colour will answer the purpose ; 
" as in the ' Transfiguration,' where a woman is 
*' clothed in drapery of this colour, which makes 
" a principal to all the heads and hands of the 
" picture: and for the sake of harmony, the colours, 
" however distinguished in their light, should be 
" nearly of the same simple unity in their sha- 
" dows; and to give the utmost force, strength, 
" and solidity to the work, some part of the 
" picture should be as light, and some as dark 
" as possible. These two extremes are, then, 

" to 


"to be harmonized and reconciled to each 
" other. 

" Instances when both of them are used may be 
" observed in two pictures, which are equally emi- 
" nent for the force and brilliancy of their effect. 
" One is in the cabinet of the Duke of Rutland, 
" and the other is in the Chapel of Rubens at 
" Antwerp, which serves as his monument. In 
" both these pictures he has introduced a female 
" figure dressed in black satin, the shadows of 
" which are as dark as pure black, opposed to the 
" contrary extreme of brightness, can make them. 

" If to these different manners we add one more, 
" that in which a silver grey or pearly tint is pre- 
" dominant, I believe every kind of harmony that 
" can be produced by colours will be compre- 
" bended. One of the greatest examples in this 
" mode is the famous ' Marriage at Canaa,' in St. 
" George's Church at Venice (now in the Louvre 
:< in Paris), where the sky, which makes a very 
" considerable part of the picture, is of the lightest 

" blue 


"blue colour and the clouds perfectly white: 
" the rest of the picture is in the same key, 
" wrought from this high pitch. We see likewise 
" many pictures of Guido in this tint; and, indeed, 
" those that are so are in his best manner. Female 
" figures, angels, and children were the subjects 
" in which Guido more particularly succeeded ; 
" and to such, the cleanness and neatness of 
" this tint perfectly corresponds, and contributes 
" not a little to that exquisite beauty and delicacy 
" which so much distinguishes his works. To 
" see this style in perfection we must again have 
" recourse to the Dutch school, particularly to 
" the works of the younger Vandervelde and the 
" younger Teneirs, whose pictures are valued by 
" connoisseurs in proportion as they possess this 
" excellence of a silver tint. Which of these 
" different styles ought to be preferred, so as to 
" meet every man's ideas, would be difficult to 
" determine, from the predilection which every 
" man has to the mode which is practised by 

" the 


" the school in which he has been educated ; 
" but if any pre-eminence is to be given, it must 
" be to that manner which stands in the highest 
" estimation with mankind in general, and that 
" is the Venetian style, or rather the manner of 
" Titian, which simply considered as producing 
" an effect of colours, will certainly eclipse with 
" its splendour whatever is brought into competi- 
" tion with it. But as I hinted before, if female 
" delicacy and beauty be the principal object 
" of the painter's aim, the purity and cleanness 
" of the tints of Guido will correspond better, 
" and more contribute to produce it, than even 
" the glowing tint of Titian." 

The following passage from Mr. Burke's work 
on the ' Sublime and Beautiful' contains many ex- 
cellent hints for a delicacy in the use of colours that 
we do not remember to have seen elsewhere, and 
which are worthy of much consideration. Speak- 
ing of beauty in colour he says : " As to the colours 
" usually found in beautiful bodies, it may be 



" somewhat difficult to ascertain them, because 
" in the several parts of nature there is an 
" infinite variety. However, even in this variety, 
" we may mark out something on which to settle. 
" First, the colours of beautiful bodies must not 
" be dusky or muddy, but clean and fair. Se- 
" condly, they must not be of the strongest kind. 
" Those which seem most appropriated to beauty 
" are the milder of every sort ; light greens, soft 
" blues, weak whites, pink reds, and violets. 
" Thirdly, if the colours be strong and vivid, 
" they are always diversified, and the object is 
" never of one strong colour : there are almost 
" always such a number of them (as in variegated 
" flowers), that the strength and glare of each is 
" considerably abated. In a fine complexion 
" there is not only some variety in the colouring, 
" but the colours, neither the red nor the white, 
" are strong and glaring : besides, they are mixed 
" in such a manner, and with such gradations, 
" that it is impossible to fix the bounds. On the 

G " same 


" same principle it is, that the dubious colour in 
" the necks and tails of peacocks, and about 
" the heads of drakes, is so very agreeable. In 
" reality, the beauty both of shape and colouring 
" are as nearly related, as we can well suppose 
" it possible for things of such different natures 
" to be." 

In concluding this division of our work we must 
remind the student, that without a judicious and 
extremely careful use of contrasts, he cannot ob- 
tain any thing of purity or delicacy in colouring. 
Astronomers are now aware that the true colour of 
a star can only be known in the presence of its 
contrast ; yet many ages had passed before they 
found out this simple fact, namely, that the class 
to which a delicate colour belongs can only be 
known by bringing near it the tint or colour from 
which it is farthest removed in its nature : a cir- 
cumstance long known to the best artists, and 
confirmed by the following experiment, which 
also proves, at the same time, that there are mul- 


titudes of colours whose very existence is unknown 
to us, until their contrasts bring them within the 
scope of our limited powers of vision. 

When a fine gradation of colour has been made 
on paper and carried into pure water, that part 
which is invisible, having no other apparent tint 
than clear, unsullied paper, will appear, on placing 
the opposing or contrasting tint by its side, of a 
wedge-like shape. The broadest part will be 
where the tint which is brought into sight is 
strongest ; the point will be the weakest, and 
will touch the contrasting colour ; and the whole 
wedge of colour will again vanish on taking away 
the contrast. If the graduated colour be yellow, 
the purple, its contrast, should be placed on a 
separate paper, cut to a perfectly straight edge, and 
then placed on the graduated colours. 


THE most general meaning given to the term 
" picturesque" is, that wildness which nature 
exhibits in her neglected state ; as the unrestrain- 
ed growth of vegetable matter, pools of water, 
forsaken gravel-pits, ruins of castles and abbeys 
with all their rich accompaniments, and that ap- 
propriate variety of forms which is implied by the 
word " picturesque." 

But if we take this word in a sense often given 
to it, as applicable to any subject having sufficient 
material for an agreeable picture, it might be ne- 
cessary to include every natural, and very many 
artificial objects; for it is remarkable, how the 
most unpromising scenes may be wrought into 



good pictures by proper attention to the chiaro- 
scuro, especially in the skies. 

Gerrard Lairesse says, that a good sky in 
painting is a proof of very great talent : and certainly 
much depends on it, as a view in the fens or 
marshes, where the distance is bounded by a 
straight line and the front a level plain, will be- 
come picturesque with a judiciously-arranged sky 
and suitable light and shade upon the land ; or the 
most formal piece of architecture on a smooth 
lawn, with other objects equally prim, may be 
made into an agreeable picture, merely by the aid 
of a powerful chiaro-scuro, and that infinite 
variety of natural colours, with their gradations 
and oppositions, which may at all times be called 
to our assistance in subjects of difficulty ; for 
where nature has done nothing every thing rests 
with the artist; even where nature has been 
most bountiful, he must well consider before he 
can copy what he sees and form it into a complete 



Whether the term " picturesque" can be applied 
to the highest class of painting has been disputed. 
Sir J. Reynolds, speaking on this subject, says : 
" The works of Michael Angelo and Raffaelle 
" appear to me to have nothing of it, whereas 
" Rubens and the Venetian School may almost be 
" said to have nothing else. Perhaps 'picturesque' 
" is somewhat synonimous to the word * taste/ 
" which we should improperly apply to Homer or 
" to Milton, but very well to Pope or Prior. I 
" suspect that the application of these words is to 
" excellencies which are incompatible with the 
" grand style." But, in conclusion, he adds, 
that he is not quite certain that the restrictions he 
has made to the general application of the word 
" picturesque" are quite valid. 

Simplicity and variety constitute the leading 
principle of the picturesque. To obtain grandeur 
there should be much simplicity. Where variety 
abounds it approaches, and generally becomes, 
what is termed beautiful in landscape. 



Among the best painters of sylvan scenery we 
must reckon Rysdale, Hobbima, Waterloo, and 
Swanevelt. The number of objects which they 
brought into their pictures was limited only to 
such incidents as the woods afforded. Sometimes 
a cottage or a mill partially appeared, with a foot- 
path, a stile, a mill-race, or clear pool of still 
water underneath the shade of some huge oak, 
inverting the landscape in its darkened mirror. 
All these things they duly studied, and gave to 
them the truth and finish of unadorned nature. 

It would almost seem that a distinct faculty is 
required to perceive and comprehend those ideas 
which are called picturesque ; for the great Dr. 
Johnson has shewn, that reading, however vast, 
will do little towards creating that ardent love and 
admiration for the Creator's grandest works, un- 
less there be a predisposing cause, which we some- 
times call " taste" or "genius," or an " additional 
' faculty." In his journey through the Western 
Isles of Scotland he says : " The hills are almost 

" totally 


" totally covered with dark heath, and even that 
" appears checked in its growth. What is not heath 
" is nakedness ; a little diversified now and then 
" by a stream rushing down the steep. An eye ac- 
" customed to flowery pastures and waving har- 
" vests, is astonished and repelled by this wide 
" extent of hopeless sterility. The appearance is 
" that of matter incapable of form or usefulness, 
" dismissed by Nature from her care, disinherited 
" of her favour, and left in its original elemental 
" state, or quickened only with one sullen power 
" of useless vegetation." How much of happiness 
and real enjoyment the good Doctor lost by not 
possessing that " additional faculty," I leave those 
to say, who have viewed the splendid and sublime 
wastes of Scotland under a different feeling. 

Strictly speaking, it will rarely happen that 
embellished scenery can be admitted among the 
truly picturesque. The pencil prefers those scenes 
where Nature has been undisturbed for ages, 
where all things are untrimmed. The figures in 



such scenes must be peasants in their usual garb ; 
cattle, such as cattle naturally are, not the high- 
bred prize ox, nor the elegant race-horse saddled 
ready for a start with his party-coloured rider.* 

When buildings occur, they should shew as 
little of art as possible : therefore the humble 
cottage, with its straw or heathy thatch over- 
grown with weeds and mosses, is more picturesque 
than the finished mansion ; yet the finest speci- 
mens of architecture when in ruins, and decorated 
with those adjuncts which nature in a series of 
years will invariably supply, are to be classed 
among the most picturesque subjects. 

In England, embellished scenery possesses a 
grace which no other country can boast of, and 
has great claims to 'admiration, on account of its 
utility as well as pictorial beauty. 

The oak, unequalled in other countries, is here 
a striking object, and the richest ornament of our 


* All animals, however high their condition, become picturesque when in 
violent action. 


parks or forests when varied by all its brilliant 
autumnal tints, whether on the foreground or in 
the distance, where the forms taken by large 
masses of oaks are of the noblest kind. In every 
other species of vegetable life there is a freshness 
of verdure in the spring, and in the autumn a 
rich assemblage of colours, which cannot be sur- 
passed and are rarely seen elsewhere. This, to- 
gether with the protection which private property 
has received from our insular position, affording 
an opportunity of improvements being continued 
through successive generations, with all the con- 
sequent additions of experience, has given to 
English park-scenery much of the picturesque 
and of grandeur, if not of the sublime. In many 
parks trees have been allowed to stand until they 
have assumed all the pictorial qualities that decay 
generally gives to them. A naturalist (Lawson 
on ' Orchards '), lamenting in feeling language the 
decay to which trees are subject, among other 
things speaks of hollow and rotten trees, with 



dead arms, withered tops, curtailed trunks co- 
vered with moss, and dying branches, &c. Had 
he been seeking for picturesque objects his tone 
would have been different ; for it is to be regret- 
ted, that utility is not always the test of the 

It does not follow, because a tree is dead or 
disfigured, that it is picturesque ; but it is so, 
rather, on account of the scenery with which it is 
associated. In forests, where we mostly find 
such objects, we also find all the proper accom- 
paniments. In village scenery we frequently see 
the old cottage or farm-house sheltered by their 
coeval trees, and it is the whole together which 
makes the picturesque. A dead tree placed on a 
smooth lawn, in front of a handsome mansion, 
would not be tolerated by its most enthusiastic 
admirers, being here too much out of place. 

Among trees, the ash, the mountain ash, the 
birch, and abele, are the most elegant. Virgil 
justly, when speaking of the ash, calls it "frtwi- 



nus in sylvis pulcherrima" the most beautiful of 
the forest ; but as a picturesque tree it will not 
compare with the oak, particularly when in a 
state of decay or aged : in health and full vigour 
gracefulness is its characteristic. 

The beech, in its most perfect condition, has a 
grandeur to which the ash and elm never attain. 
Its extended and leafy head, supported upon a 
trunk that is finely formed, often variegated with 
moss and other excrescences, upon a bark which 
is always of an agreeable hue, together with other 
strong features, make it well worthy the attention 
of the draughtsman. 

The elm partakes much of the oak in appear- 
ance, and unites some of its grandeur with a 
lightness of foliage peculiar to itself. Usually 
growing upright and to a great height, it gives 
dignity to the landscape around it. 

The white poplar with large leaves (better 
known as the abele) is a magnificent ornament 
either to park or forest. It has the light grace- 


fulness of the ash, united to the wide-spreading 
and massive dignity of the beech. The trunk 
most frequently rises to a great height before any 
branches are thrown out ; the bark is of light 
ashy grey, generally banded with dark patches 
in the manner of the birch. The mosses which 
grow on the abele are always of a rich colour, 
that contrast well with both foliage and bark, and 
we have no inhabitant of the forest that surpasses 
it in height, grandeur, or beauty of form, when 
it is pleased with the soil on which it stands ; 
but the softness of the timber will always prevent 
it from being a favourite in plantations, where the 
utile, is preferred to the dulce. 

We are much surprized how this tree should 
have escaped the acute notice of Mr. Gilpin in 
his excellent work on forest scenery, whilst he 
was describing with such accuracy other poplars 
of much less beauty. 

Our limited space will not permit us to notice 
the whole list of trees and shrubs, which are all 



worthy of attention, each for some peculiarity of 
character or colour, especially in autumn, when 
a portion of their leaves have fallen, and the rest 
become tinged with the hues of the season : as 
the light tawny of the plane-tree; the varied 
yellows, yellow greens, and browns of the oak ; 
the bright yellow of the hazel ; dull brown of the 
sycamore ; pale yellow of the maple ; tawny 
green of the elm ; the pale lemon yellow of the 
ash ; and in late autumn, the deep and bright 
reds of the beech and wild cherry-tree, &c. 

At this season of solemn grandeur we see dis- 
played the richness and grace of those combina- 
tions and groupings, both in form and colour, 
which Nature uses in her forest scenes. Such 
impress the mind with a sense of awe, of which 
the Druids were well aware, when they esta- 
blished their sacrifices and their divinities in the 

Nor dissimilar are the sensations occasionally 
felt in passing over extensive mountains and wastes, 



where the wanderer finds himself separated from 
the world, the sole tenant of the wilderness, hold- 
ing communion with a solitude and silence almost 
oppressive. But it is in these places that the 
artist and poet must seek the sublime as well as 
the most picturesque impressions, not in formal 
street perspective, with a re-iteration of doors and 
windows, or amidst the artificial groves of the 
landscape gardener. 

Amongst the sources of the picturesque which 
belong almost exclusively to Great Britain, are 
those effects produced by the occasional heaviness 
of our atmosphere, arising from the natural humi- 
dity of the climate, giving to distances an obscu- 
rity in some places, whilst at the same moment, 
in others, there will be a distinctness equalling 
the clearness produced by an Italian sky. This 
allows to artists the liberty of enlightening such 
parts of the distance as are agreeable in character : 
others, which are not so, may be suffused with 
vapour, or hidden by a partial shower of rain, or 



rendered gloomy by the shadows of clouds. That 
haziness, so frequent in our islands, which, with- 
out destroying, throws a thin veil over the whole 
of harmonizing power, gives to the picture a 
repose, frequently more grateful to the eye than is 
effected by a brilliant atmosphere, where the sharp 
outlines and distinct colours often produce a 
painful species of detail throughout the land- 

The months of September, October, and No- 
vember, shew the most picturesque effects. In 
the mornings and evening we have then more of 
what the artist calls air-tint. We see masses of 
shadow cast into large breadths by the lowness of 
the sun, creating a rich and quiet tone of repose 
wherever they fall. Their richness is occasioned 
by the faint marking of colours and forms, when 
seen through the deep misty greys of an autumnal 
morn or eve ; yet so harmoniously blended, as to 
leave unbroken and undisturbed the necessary 
repose of the picture. The lights are more bril- 


liant by this contrast, and mark with the greater 
precision the character of every object. 

The colours of vegetation, in these months, 
partake more of light than the deep monotonous 
greens of early summer, when the woods and fields 
wear all one livery, and of a colour, although 
agreeable, not gay. In the autumn the colours are 
of a more varied and cheerful nature. Even the 
colours of buildings seem to have changed with 
the season ; and we now find in views of towns or 
villages, when seen not too far off, all the modifi- 
cations of red, brown, orange, buff, greys, white, 
&c., contrasted by an universal pearly shade-tint, 
which throws a whole city into differently-shaped 
masses of chiaro-scuro, most frequently so con- 
veniently disposed, that the eye sees with remark- 
able precision, objects which, under a more ele- 
vated sun, become in a manner indistinct, from 
their multitude, and the distracting glare of light 
which in one universal stream descends on the 
whole scene. 

ii We 


We find in mountain scenery a great diversity 
of outline, but not all equally good. When seen 
against the sky, they should have nothing either 
formal or fantastic, but be continued in irregularly 
undulating lines, which are always beautiful, and 
occasionally broken by abrupt or precipitous de- 
scents. Amongst the finest forms the pyramidal 
takes the lead, being that which unites in itself 
the first principles of grandeur, strength, and 
magnitude. In painting, these lines should not be 
too distinctly marked, but partake of that filmy 
texture which belongs to distant objects. The 
pyramidal form may also be reversed and made 
very picturesque ; as, for example, the straight 
line of a bridge crossing the inclined lines of a 
deep ravine which meet towards the bottom of a 
picture ; but this can only be used with effect 
near the foreground or in the middle distance. 

Nothing can be more beautifully picturesque 
than the light, floating colours of the mountains. 
They are continually changing, sometimes from a 



pale sunny yellow to the hue of the peach bloom, 
and this converted most magically into the violet 
and azure of the mountain shades ; the whole 
again reconverted with variegated splendour into 
lights, shadows, and colours equally illusive, by 
the prismatic effect of some thin vapour arising 
from the earth. The shadows of clouds passing 
over the sides of mountains add also greatly to 
their grandeur, by producing that breadth and 
unity of shade-tint so essential to their character. 

The features in a foreground, to be picturesque, 
should be strongly marked. What is picturesque 
in a distance is not so on a foreground, where the 
colours and forms are well made out. Objects on 
the foreground, to be picturesque, should be so 
disposed, that their lights, shadows, colours, &c. 
may contrast agreeably those of the distances. 

Where a large mass of shade is wanted, trees 
will supply it ; if warm browns or greys, the 
trunks of trees or rocks may be made subservient ; 
or if the grey or azure of the distant tints are to 

H 2 be 


be opposed, the autumnal colours of foliage may 
be used, of which there is abundant choice. 

In broken earth a great variety of ochres and 
browns are to be found, and for red, black, white, 
brown, and grey, cattle will furnish all that can 
be required ; or for the more positive colours, as 
scarlet, yellow, and blue, figures clothed in these 
tints, and in appropriate positions and action, 
can be introduced to fill up the arrangement of the 

The sea with its shores is an inexhaustible study, 
presenting in itself an endless choice and variety 
of effects. In certain states of the atmosphere 
there is a beautiful mingling and interchanging of 
colours on the surface of the ocean, breaking and 
making agreeable, sometimes, even the monotony 
of a calm. 

With an increase of wind, the same scene 
which before was merely pleasing becomes highly 
interesting. The waves are crested with foam, 
vessels take every possible attitude, and receive 



all the varieties of light as the shades occasioned 
by the clouds pass away. The distant and dark 
blue sea assumes as it approaches an olive green, 
sometimes a drab colour or other hues of gayer 
tint, with every imaginary shape and size of waves 
rolling in ceaseless change, making the sea alone, 
even without the accompaniment of sands or cliffs, 
a highly picturesque subject. 

A storm at sea adds sublimity to the picturesque. 
Those enormous collections of clouds, the harbingers 

' O 

of thunder, the subdued pale grey lights which 
edge the under-clouds, the lurid tints, as of flame 
seen through a black veil, the scattered and torn 
fragments in the zenith hastening to a junction 
with the larger masses, and the darkened colours 
of the sea in its agitation mingling with the sky, 
contain all the elements of the sublime. Here 
even a ship of war of the largest class seen moving 
through the flying foam, with its light sails spread 
against the deepening gloom, its tall spars bending 
before the tempest, is grandly picturesque ; when 



alone, and at rest in a quiet harbour, it has not 
the least claim to the term. 

Marine views may have their interest greatly 
increased by rocks, sands, and their characteristic 
figures ; boats on shore, birds which frequent the 
ocean, sea- weed, pieces of wreck, nets, baskets, 
fishermen's huts, and all their usual accompani- 

( 111 ) 




THE opinions of all civilized nations have 
tended to establish certain forms and colours as 
beautiful, and these most generally are founded 
on the perfection of the object to which the term 
is applied. 

Some will not admit the existence of abstract 
beauty. Amongst them we find Voltaire, who 
very unfairly omits every thing that might go 
against his opinion. He states the whole matter 
as entirely relative ; that things esteemed beauti- 
ful in Paris might not be so esteemed in London, 
and that a toad will consider the perfection of 



beauty as resting among toads, &c. He also 
descends to sarcasm; but sarcasm is not argu- 

The Greeks, when establishing their ideas of 
beauty in the human figure, appear to have taken 
for their guide a very simple rule as a first prin- 
ciple, and refined on it until they were enabled 
to produce those perfections of form and expres- 
sion, which have been allowed through successive 
ages as standards of beauty, of grace, and subli- 
mity. They saw that, in the human countenance, 
a depressed forehead, a flat nose, and projecting 
mouth, is too nearly allied to the brute formation, 
and that a gradation might be traced from the 
lowest animals, through the dog, monkey, ouran- 
outang, negro, and Tartar, up to the European, 
or, as termed by physiologists, the Caucasian 
variety, in the great family of mankind. They 
found in the Caucasian variety, that the head 
above the eyes is large, and well developed, par- 
ticularly towards the front and in the forehead, 



and that the face comparatively is small, and falls 
perpendicularly from the cranium, the face oval, 
nose moderately prominent, the mouth small, the 
chin well rounded, &c. To these forms they 
found added an intellectual energy and moral 
perception, capable of such extensive cultivation 
and refinement, as to warrant them in supposing 
that, as the facial line is elevated, in the same 
proportion intelligence increases. Following this 
rule, they have given to those heads which they 
wished to possess the greatest dignity, a coun- 
tenance nearly perpendicular; and in their statues 
of the gods they have carried this rule so far as 
to make the forehead project beyond the face, 
thus attaining the farthest possible remove from 
the formation of the lower animals. 

It is this refinement which is termed ideal 
beauty, and which we can only well understand 
by examining their statues, where we shall find 
that perfections which never exist altogether in 
any one individual are collected into a perfect 



whole, making an aggregation of beauties which 
are constantly to be found in nature, but never 
altogether in the most favoured individual. 

From this it appears that the Greeks did not 
go upon vague notions; they seem to have worked 
upon a great leading principle, and by doing so 
have gained the suffrages of the whole civilized 
world. And we find that beauty, whether ab- 
stract or relative, is judged by that created being 
which possesses the greatest reasoning power, to 
consist in those forms capable of the highest state 
of intellect, and also best fitted to perform all 
the duties of its position in the world, by being 
composed of those medial forms which are equally 
removed from redundancy or attenuation. 

Thus we might be justified in asserting the 
existence of abstract beauty. Or it may be 
asked, whether the opinion of the being best 
fitted to reason and judge shall have weight, or 
whether by subtilizing we are to grant an equal 
right to those beings which have no reason, des- 


cending in this extraordinary spirit of liberality 
through the first dawnings of animal or vegetable 
life into lifeless matter, as no point can be assign- 
ed where we are to stop, until we might conclude 
with certain philosophers, that the qualities of all 
material things are ideal, and in this manner arrive 
at the monstrous absurdity, that it is quite indiffe- 
rent whether an object be loathsome or lovely. 

It is certain that, in all the species of created 
beings, there are particular states of perfection 
which may be called beautiful for want of a 
better term. But it is also certain, that some 
beings are more perfect than others, and that 
man surpasses them all ; therefore, in the human 
figure are we to look for those lines and forms 
which we call beautiful, a word for which the 
Greeks, having no equivalent, used others, com- 
prehending many more excellencies than our own. 
As Sir J. Reynolds observes : " It is from rei- 
" terated experience, and a close comparison of 
" the objects in nature, that an artist becomes 

" possessed 


'* possessed of the idea of that central form, if I 
" may so express it, from which every deviation 
" is deformity. But the investigation of this 
" form, 1 grant, is painful : and I know but of 
" one method of shortening the road ; this is, by 
" a careful study of the works of the ancient 
" sculptors, who being indefatigable in the school 
" of nature, have left models of that perfect form 
" behind them which an artist would prefer as 
" supremely beautiful, who had spent his whole 
" life in that single contemplation. 

" This laborious investigation, I am aware, 
" must appear superfluous to those who think 
" every thing is to be done by felicity and the 
" powers of native genius. Even the great Bacon 
" treats with ridicule the idea of confining pro- 
" portion to rules, or of producing beauty by 
" selection. A man cannot tell, says he, whether 
" Apelles or Albert Durer were the more trifler, 
" whereof the one would make a personage by 
" geometrical proportions, the other by taking 

" the 


" the best parts out of divers faces to make one 
" excellent. * * * The painter, he adds, must do 
" it by a kind of felicity and not by rule. 

" It is not safe," continues Sir Joshua Rey- 
nolds, " to question any opinion of so great a 
" writer and so profound a thinker as undoubt- 
" edly Bacon was ; but he studies brevity to ex- 
" cess, and therefore his meaning is sometimes 
" doubtful. If he mean that beauty has nothing 
"to do with rule, he is mistaken. There is a 
" rule obtained out of general nature, to contra- 
" diet which is to fall into deformity. Whenever 
" any thing is done beyond this rule, it is in 
" virtue of some other rule which is followed 
" along with it, but which does not contradict it. 
" Every thing which is wrought with certainty is 
" wrought upon some principle ; if it is not, it 
" cannot be repeated. 

" If by felicity is meant any thing of chance 
" or hazard, or something born with a man and 
" not earned, I cannot agree with this great 

" philosopher. 


" philosopher. Every object which pleases, must 
" give us pleasure upon some certain principles ; 
" but as the objects of pleasure are almost infinite, 
" so their principles vary without end, and every 
" man finds them out, not by felicity or success- 
" ful hazard, but by care and sagacity. 

" To the principle I have laid down, that the 
" idea of beauty in each species of beings is an 
" invariable one, it may be objected, that in 
" every particular species there are various central 
" forms which are separate and distinct from each 
" other, and yet are undeniably beautiful ; that 
" in the human figure, for instance, the beauty of 
" Hercules is one, of the Gladiator another, of 
" the Apollo another, which makes so many 
" different kinds of beauty. 

" It is true, indeed, that these figures are each 
" perfect in their kind, though of different charac- 
" ters and proportions, but still none of them is 
" the representation of an individual but of a 
" class. And as there is one general form which, 

" as 


" as I have said, belongs to the human kind at 
" large, so in each of these classes there is one 
" common idea and central form, which is the 
" abstract of the various individual forms belong- 
" ing to that class. Thus, though the forms of 
" childhood and age differ exceedingly, there 
" is a common form in childhood and a common 
" form in age, which is the more perfect as it is 
" more remote from all peculiarities. But I 
" must add, further, that though the most 
" perfect forms of each of the general divisions 
" of the human figure are ideal, and superior to 
" any individual form of that class, yet the highest 
" perfection of the human figure is not to be 
" found in any one of them. It is not in the 
" Hercules, nor in the Gladiator, nor in the 
" Apollo, but in that form which is taken from 
" all, and which partakes equally of the activity 
" of the Gladiator, of the delicacy of the Apollo, 
" and the muscular strength of the Hercules ; 
" for perfect beauty in any species must com- 

" bine 


" bine all the characters which are beautiful in 
" that species. It cannot consist in any one to 
"the exclusion of the rest; no one, therefore, 
" must be predominant, that no one may be 
" deficient." 

In another place Sir Joshua adds : " Thus, 
" among blades of grass or leaves of the same 
" tree, though no two can be found exactly alike, 
" the general form is invariable. A naturalist, 
" before he chose one as a sample, would examine 
" many ; since, if he took the first that occurred, 
" it might have by accident, or otherwise, such 
" a form, as that it would scarce be known to 
" belong to that species he selects, as the painter 
" does the most beautiful, that is, the most 
" general form of perfect nature." 

It was the opinion of Mr. Burke, that smooth- 
ness is of great importance in the constitution of 
every beautiful object. He says : " It is a quality 
" so essential to beauty, that I do not now re- 
" collect any thing beautiful that is not smooth. 

" In 


"In trees and flowers smooth leaves are beauti- 
" ful ; smooth coats of birds and beasts are 
" beautiful, &c. A very considerable part of the 
" effect of beauty is owing to this quality, 
" indeed the most considerable ; for take any 
" beautiful object and give it a broken and 
" rugged surface, and however well formed, if 
" it want not this, it becomes more pleasing 
" than almost all the others without it. This 
" seems to me so evident, that I am a good deal 
" surprized that none who have handled the 
" subject have made any mention of the quality 
" of smoothness, in the enumeration of those 
" that go to the formation of beauty ; for, indeed, 
" any ruggedness, any sudden projection, any 
" sharp angle, is in the highest degree contrary 
" to that idea. 

" But as perfect beautiful bodies are not com- 
" posed of angular parts, so their parts never 
" continue long in the same right line. They 
" vary their direction every moment, and they 

i " change 


" change under the eye by a deviation continually 
" carrying on, but for whose beginning or end you 
" will find it difficult to ascertain a point. The 
" view of a beautiful bird will illustrate this ob- 
" servation. * * * I have before me the idea 
" of a dove, it agrees very well with most of the 
" conditions of beauty. It is smooth, and its 
" parts are (to use that expression) melted into one 
" another: you are presented with no sudden 
" protuberance through the whole, and yet the 
" whole is continually changing. * * * lean 
" strengthen my theory in this point, by the 
" opinion of the very ingenious Mr. Hogarth, 
" whose idea of the line of beauty (the serpentine) 
" I take in general to be extremely just; but the 
" idea of variation, without attending so accurately 
" to the manner of the variation, has led him to 
" consider angular figures as beautiful. These 
** figures, it is true, vary greatly, yet they vary 
" in a sudden and broken manner; and I do not 
" find any natural object which is angular, and at 

" the 


" the same time beautiful. Indeed, few natural 
" objects are entirely angular." 

The ancients (we speak of the times of Apelles) 
divided painting into five principal parts ; inven- 
tion, symmetry, colour (including chiaro-scuro), 
expression, and disposition : yet they appear to 
have thought a sixth necessary, or rather essential 
to the completion of the whole, for however cor- 
rectly the five first were observed, without grace, 
which we have termed the sixth, they deemed 
the whole of any work of art imperfect. This 
grace was to be obtained by a becoming propriety 
in every separate point, and again, by a concor- 
dance or mutual agreement of all the five. 

Grace seems to be a part of beauty, for it is cer- 
tainly the highest state of perfection to which 
whatever is beautiful can arrive. It makes beauty 
more lovely by a delicacy of expression in action, 
form, and mind. It is a quality readily perceived 
but difficult of explanation, without the presence 
of those works which contain the only language 

i 2 by 


by which we can understand this indescribable 
perfection, as a careful contemplation of the Medi- 
cean Venus, the Apollo Belvidere, the Antinous, 
and others will best shew. In these we shall find 
lines possessing more or less of the ellipsis in such 
endless varying forms, from every point of view, 
that the geometrician and writer are equally 
baffled in attempting a description of them. 

Grace requires simplicity ; constraint and affec- 
tation destroy it. Almost all the actions of children 
were thought by Sir J. Reynolds to possess this 
quality, and that gracefulness left them when the 
lessons of the dancing-master commenced. In 
support of this opinion he might have quoted 
Cicero, who in his first book De Oratore, adds, 
" Roscius often says in my hearing, that a 
" graceful propriety is the principal point of art, 
" and this is the only thing which cannot be pro- 
" ducedbyart." 

Grace may be considered as the harmonious 
accordance of the action with the agent ; therefore 



that grace which is becoming in the female form 
would be unsuitable to the male : in man it must 
have something more of dignity. This nice dis- 
tinction was so well understood by Raffaelle, that 
he may be said to have possessed the whole quality 
in its fullest extent ; and the following passage 
taken from Mr. Roscoe's excellent translation of 
the history of painting in Italy by the Abate Luigi 
Lanzi, gives us a great idea of the power that Raf- 
faelle had attained in this essential and fascinating 
department of the art. " Another quality which 
" Raffaelle possessed in an eminent degree was 
" grace, a quality which may be said to confer an 
" additional charm on beauty itself. Something 
" might, perhaps, be advantageously added to the 
" forms of his children and other delicate figures 
" which he represented, but nothing can add to 
" their gracefulness ; for if it were attempted to 
" be carried further, it would degenerate into 
" affectation, as we find in Parmegiano. His Ma- 
" donnas enchant us, as Mengs observes, not 

" because 


" because they possess the perfect lineaments 
" of the Medicean Venus or of the celebrated 
" daughter of Niobe, but because the painter in 
" their portraits and in their expressive smiles has 
" personified modesty, maternal love, purity of 
" mind, and in a word, grace itself. Nor did he 
" impress this character on the countenance alone, 
" but distributed it throughout the figure in its 
" attitude, gesture, and action, and in the folds 
" of the drapery, with a dexterity which may be 
" admired but can never be surpassed. His free- 
" dom of execution was a component part of his 
" grace, which indeed vanishes as soon as labour 
" and study appear ; for it is with the painter as 
" with the orator, in whom a natural and spon- 
taneous eloquence delights us, while we turn 
" away with indifference from an artificial and 
" studied harangue." 

Grace should be extended to expression. A 
figure, a statue, or a plant may stand gracefully, 
or they may be moved or represent motion grace- 


fully, but it is only when expression is added 
to grace, and both superadded to beauty, that 
the latter becomes perfect. 

Expression, we are of opinion, should be held 
as the highest department of painting. Some 
give to invention the first place, whilst others 
grant it to composition : yet without expression, 
the finest works of art are nothing more than a 
heap of lifeless matter; with it, the representa- 
tion of the most insignificant insect or plant 
starts into life, and we regard it with correspond- 
ing feelings. 

In short, expression is to be found in all things. 
Things inanimate express their qualities, the 
state of atmosphere, and other adventitious cir- 
cumstances under which they are seen. In 
human beings and the lower animals expression 
displays passion under its two great divisions, 
pleasure and pain, to one of which every sentiment 
or emotion approaches more or less remotely. It 
is not sufficient to represent them correctly in 



outline, for much more is required to shew that 
the draughtsman is not a mean observer of nature. 
The animal must have life: some passion, active 
or passive, must be represented, and this must be 
carried throughout. Not only the eyes, nostrils, 
mouth, ears, carriage of head, neck, limbs, and 
body, are to feel the identical passion, but even 
the very hair must denote the quiescent or active 
intention of the animal's feelings ; and this not in 
a vulgar, extravagant, or confused style, but 
with that energy of which Nature just infuses 
a quantity sufficient to awaken every nerve as 
much as the occasion requires, in like manner 
as she adjusts the strength of a tree or plant, 
from the principal stem upwards to the finest 
ramifications, where strength only is wanted to 
support a single leaf. 

It is in expression that painting shews its 
greatest power. In poetry the feelings have to 
be moved by an indefinite, and sometimes a 
vague phraseology : and as no two imaginations 



are alike, so will the images vary in different 
minds ; for the best poets can do no more than 
refer to " monuments of Grecian art," with 
" ivory limbs," &c., from Ovid downwards. 

In sculpture we seek in vain for those pale or 
lurid colours indicating the angry passions, or 
those more harmonious which belong to kindness 
and all our better feelings. These have their 
cheerful and happy hues, which no language but 
that of colours can attempt to express. The artist 
makes no reference to " lillies and roses," but 
uses the infinity of tints as they are used by Na- 
ture, for expression and distinction. 

Beauty, grace, and expression, may be found 
separately ; but the union of all is to be attempted, 
and the artist is fortunate who can create this 
union in his works. Nor must he be dissatisfied 
if he do not discover the superlative line of de- 
marcation between beauty and ugliness, grace or 
affectation, or between expression and insipidity, 
for this line will always remain as indistinct as the 


130 BEAUTY, GRACE, &c. 

edge of a light bordering on shadow ; we see both 
mixed in the penumbra, but where either begins 
or ends no one can say. 

( 131 ) 



ALMOST all who study painting are glad to 
exercise themselves occasionally, during the ab- 
sence of their teacher, in the cultivation of a talent 
which unites in an eminent degree the agreeable 
with the useful ; yet often these wishes are ren- 
dered fruitless by very small impediments, and we 
are sensible how frequently the best intentions 
are set aside by causes which appear so trifling, 
that we are almost unwilling to acknowledge their 
power or influence. Whilst copying a drawing, 
it will often happen that the pupil meets with a 
tint which he has not before seen mixed, and has 



no one near of whom he can ask advice. This diffi- 
culty immediately produces greater trouble than he 
can account for in proceeding with the tints with 
which he is acquainted : of. course he becomes 
fatigued, and begins to suspect (perhaps unjustly) 
that painting is a science for which he has no 
taste, that he is deficient in corporeal industry or 
mental energy, when, in fact, no one of these sup- 
positions may be right. 

Those who have long practised painting are 
aware how important it is to obtain in their pic- 
ture certain tints and hues, before they can arrive 
at, or even approach their intention, or feel in any 
way secure of the successful termination of their 
labour : and it not uncommonly occurs that these 
are the tints which most hinder the student ; 
tints which possibly require the greatest delicacy 
in their construction, which may hold much im- 
portance in balancing, connecting, or contrasting 
the remainder of the picture, or which may be 
essential for sustaining the truth and purity of 



the light, the origin of all colours, receiving a 
tint according to its peculiar season or other in- 
fluences, as of silver grey under the influence 
of clouds and wind, or of gold from an evening 
sun in a splendid summer's sky. The gradation 
and clearness of shadows, the piquancy of effect, 
and all those different hues that indicate not only 
the seasons, but the variable impressions made 
by an ever-changing atmosphere, will depend 
entirely on a set of tints, the truth of which are 
to be carefully kept up, to ensure an equal pre- 
cision in the intended picture. 

The arrangement of the different specimens has 
been made to keep together, as much as possible, 
tints that resemble each other, and also that may 
be used together in the same parts of the picture, 
as greys, greens, &c. ; and although it was found 
impossible to follow very exactly the above order, 
it is hoped that the classification will prove suffi- 
ciently regular to admit of immediate reference. 
As the arrangement of the Index will explain it- 


self best by a careful inspection of its pages, there 
have only to be added a few points or cautions 
respecting the general use and application of 
colours; first noticing, that the varieties of each 
mixture have not been carried beyond three, pre- 
suming that this number will be found sufficient 
to ensure the certainty of finding, if not the exact 
tint sought, at least some one so nearly resembling 
it, that a satisfactory clue will be obtained for its 
composing colours. 

In use, all colours, tints, or shades, whether 
light or dark, should be made moderately liquid 
on the palette or plate, before they are taken up 
into the brush for application ; for the surface of 
paper, when seen through a powerful lens, being 
not much unlike a straw-yard or stubble-field 
that has been well trampled, it becomes abso- 
lutely necessary that the colours should be laid 
on the paper in as fluid a state as the requisite 
depth of 'tint and preservation of forms will per- 
mit, in order that the interstices may be well 



filled, and produce that solidity of colour which 
we see pervading every object in nature. 

We must here be allowed to offer a caution 
only necessary to be remembered by very young 
beginners, viz. not to make up a larger quantity 
of any tint than may be wanted, or be adequate 
to cover amply the spaces intended ; for when it 
has to be adapted to some other part of the draw- 
ing by the addition of other colours, if the tint 
should have been made too abundantly on the 
plate, there must be a corresponding abundance 
of the additional colours to effect a change, which 
not only consumes much time and colour, but is 
also exceedingly fatiguing. The Author has, in 
the course of his practice, occasionally seen as 
much tint made up for a space not the size of a 
small wafer, as would have covered a large sheet 
of drawing-paper. Such a process increases the 
labour of painting more than a hundred-fold ; or 
rather, if continued, creates insuperable difficul- 
ties. A few, even not so young in practice as 



those above contemplated, perhaps, may derive 
some advantage from these remarks ; for it is 
certain that nothing adds more to the difficulty of 
colouring, than an improper adaptation of the 
quantities of tints to the places for which they are 

It occurs not unfrequently, that the brush will 
hold in the residue of a colour that has been used 
a sufficient quantity for the next application, after 
it has received a small portion of another colour to 
make the proper change in its appearance, and 
by this not small economizing of time, and of 
mental as well as manual labour, the ennui arising 
from a useless mixture of large quantities of colour 
is avoided, the drawing advances, and the ener- 
gies of the pupil are not dissipated in strenuous 
nothings. The neglect of the foregoing cautions 
produces two remarkable effects, by which the 
works of the unpractised are readily known. 
When the colours have not been properly liqui- 
fied, the drawing takes a dry and dusty appear- 


ance. The contrary fault occasions an insipidity 
of forms and thinness of colour surrounded by 
dark edges, insurmountable until the sponge has 
cleared them wholly away. 

It may be thought that the Author descends too 
minutely into detailed instruction, in stating that 
a palette or plate should be perfectly dry before 
colours are rubbed upon it ; but he has seen some 
few students, possessing every necessary quali- 
fication for a draughtsman except that of method, 
dip a palette into water, rinse off the old colours, 
and immediately, whilst wet, place a fresh set 
upon it. Of course, in a few moments the colours 
run together, giving a good representation of mar- 
bled paper, but which are entirely useless and 
unmanageable for any purpose that can be ima- 
gined. There is only one way in which water- 
colours can be used on a plate or palette. Either 
is to be made quite dry, the colours rubbed in 
separate patches round the margin, and so little 
water used that they cannot run together ; then, 

K when 


when a mixture is wanted, a small portion of the 
requisite colours is to be taken with a wet brush 
and placed in the centre, or on another plate, and 
great care should be used not to dilute more than 
will be required for the purpose in hand. 

When a drawing is about to be commenced, it 
will be found most convenient to make up a few 
of the tints on separate small white plates : as the 
blue tints for the sky, on one ; the pale orange, 
yellow, or red tints, on another ; one for the greys 
of clouds and distances : the greens for all the 
vegetation of foregrounds should also be on a sepa- 
rate plate, viz. the colours of which the greens are 
composed ; and another is to be set apart for those 
colours from which the rich earthy tints, suitable 
for stone, wood, &c. and all the deep shadows in 
and near the front of the picture, are to be made. 
This method of dividing the tints will keep them 
from being sullied by wrong mixtures, and will 
be found greatly to facilitate the progress of the 
drawing. The faint colours that are used in skies 



and distances will frequently have to be cleared 
off the plates, but those which contain the colours 
from which the greens and deeper tints are used 
in and near the foreground of the picture, may be 
kept in better order by being continued in use, 
renewing the separate colours as they are con- 
sumed, without clearing the plate ; for a vast num- 
ber of useful tints will be constantly appearing by 
the repeated mixtures, requiring nothing more 
than a little water to prepare them for any parts 
of the drawing to which they may be applicable. 

As a general rule, it is better to make the tints 
rather too light than too dark ; unless it is intended 
that the drawing shall be washed or sponged 
before the finishing colours are laid upon it. 

If, by accident, the drawing should become 
darker or deeper coloured than the student pro- 
posed, or if the colouring should prove in any 
other way unsatisfactory, whether it may be in an 
advanced state or only just commenced, the stu- 
dent should not hesitate to apply a large, flat, 
K 2 camel's-hair 


camel's-hair brush, with plenty of clean water, 
lightly over the whole drawing, using it with some 
degree of pressure on the most objectionable places; 
or, should the brush be too ineffective, a mode- 
rately-sized soft sponge must supply its place. 

The application of a wet sponge may cause some 
apprehension as to the ultimate fate of the draw- 
ing, and more, should the work have been pre- 
viously brought into a forward state ; but however 
forward it may appear, a few trials will shew that 
sometimes a drawing is much nearer being finished 
after, than previous to the employment of the 
sponge or wet brush, gaining, when worked over 
again, an appearance of solidity and transparency 
that no other process can produce. Perhaps it 
might be most prudent to let the wet brush or 
sponge make its debut upon one or two small 
drawings of little value, by which more confidence 
will be gained for greater affairs. If this operation 
can be done before the greens are worked into the 
picture, more especially those which have gam- 


boge in their composition, and whilst it is yet fixed 
to the drawing-board, the washing, either with 
brush or sponge, will be much more easily manag- 
ed ; or should the water have to be applied 
when no more than the sky, clouds, and dis- 
tances are done, there will not be any diffi- 

From the above statement it will have already 
been inferred that the greens occasion the greatest 
trouble ; caused, first, by their readiness in dis- 
solving ; and secondly, by the extraordinary care 
requisite to get every stain of green out of the 
sky and pure greys, by repeated ablutions of clean 
water. It is necessary that the whole surface of 
the paper should be made equally wet before the 
flat brush or sponge be applied with any pressure, 
that the colours may float off equally, viz.. leaving 
as much equality of tone as may be desirable. 
A contrary mode will bring off the colours in un- 
even patches, rising most readily from those places 
that have been longest made wet. 



As another general rule, it may also be con- 
sidered better to lay the warm tints and local 
colours first (by local colours we mean the natural 
colours of objects when seen without shadow), 
and the colder tints over them, not forgetting, 
whilst laying the local colours, to attend care- 
fully to their perspective decrease of brilliancy, 
caused by the increased intervening body of at- 
mosphere or lengthened column of air, as they 
retire from the foreground ; or, in other words, 
the perspective gradation from colour to grey, as 
the tints become more distant. And as shadows 
take very much the appearance of thin gauze 
veils thrown over the places that they obscure, 
they seem to be most easily imitated by following 
a similar process in painting, which permitting 
more or less of the local colours to be seen, ac- 
cording to the greater or less intensity of those 
veils or shadows, produces a richly-varied set of 
tints, the very opposite to monotony, and posses- 
sing all those estimable qualities of the Italian - 



and Flemish painters, called by some " internal 
light," by others " transparency." 

It may also be recommended to the student, 
not to attempt the mixture of a greater number 
of colours than three, as pointed out in the Index, 
but rather to choose the one the nearest in ap- 
pearance to the tint he seeks, and if necessary, to 
lay other colours over it, in order to bring it to 
the desired hue. When many colours are mingled 
together, they lose brilliancy in proportion to the 
numbers mixed (unless the selection has been 
most skilfully made) ; consequently, any two co- 
lours, or mixed tints, will be found to possess 
brighter hues when laid over each other, than 
could be obtained by mixing either the two co- 
lours, or all the colours that enter into the com- 
position of the two mixed tints together. And 
it may be here well to mention, that when one 
colour or tint has to be laid over another, the 
first must be allowed to be perfectly dry before 
the second is laid upon it, or an appearance 



and blemish will be produced not easily reme- 

It should be particularly noticed of what kind 
the tints are, upon which any additional tint has 
to be laid, viz. when skies and distances are 
finished (and they are usually finished before the 
foreground objects), perhaps other colours will 
have to be laid over them, as trees against the 
sky, or against a distant mountain. If the greens 
for the trees be of a yellowish tint, it is not im- 
probable but that the blue of the sky or mountain 
may be so deep, that very much less blue than 
could be imagined will be sufficient in the greens, 
or perhaps none, for a transparent yellow laid 
over blue must necessarily become green ; there- 
fore, if a tint be made up on the palette exactly 
to the tint required, and then laid upon a blue 
sky, it will appear much too cold. The same 
calculation will be requisite throughout the draw- 
ing in the finishing. Again, if upon a yellow- 
green some dark foliage should have to be placed, 



perhaps a tint of blue alone, or blue with a very 
little of one of the browns in it, may be sufficient; 
or in placing the shadows of a rock or piece of 
earth, stone, &c. already laid in with the warm 
local colours, a much cooler grey is to be used 
than if no colour had already been placed on the 

Sometimes it will happen that the paper, either 
wholly on in part, will resist the colours, or, 
as it is commonly termed, appear greasy. A 
very little prepared gall, such as sold at the 
colour-shops, or when not to be had, two or 
three drops of ox-gall in its natural state mixed 
with the colours, will make them work very 
satisfactorily: but it should be used only when 
necessary, as it occasions a loss of brilliancy to 
most of the colours, particularly the blues, It 
should also be remembered, that when gall is 
used in the tints, lights cannot be taken off so 
freely with the cloth. To those who have not seen 
this operation an explanation will be acceptable. 



When colours have attained some degree of 
depth and lights are found necessary, as on the 
foliage of trees, &c., where they have not been 
left sufficiently bright or perfect in shape, with 
a small brush, holding as much clean water as 
will allow it to preserve its point, lay the forms 
of the lights (not too many at once) on the 
places requiring them. When the water has 
rested a few moments, press strongly upon the 
wet places with a piece of cotton or linen cloth, 
to absorb the water; immediately afterwards 
rub the places with a dry corner of the same 
cloth, using much pressure ; or if Indian rubber 
be employed, less pressure will serve. The parts 
thus rubbed out will be left quite white, con- 
sequently fresh colours will have to be placed 
to reduce them to their proper tints. 

The Author would not wish it to be under- 
stood, because he has selected near twenty different 
colours for the mixtures in the Index, that the 
student is to employ the whole of them in his 



drawing at the same time : en the contrary, he 
will find it better to limit himself to as small 
a number of colours as possible, perhaps seven 
or eight ; as yellow ochre, gamboge, light red, 
lake, indigo, and Vandyke brown or burnt sienna, 
with their admixtures. A larger list of colours 
will be found to occasion more inconvenience to 
beginners than advantage. Nor, again, should 
it be inferred that the whole of the greys, greens, 
orange tints, &c. &c. to be found in the Index, 
may or can be used on the same drawing. Were 
such an experiment to be tried, most probably a 
melange of colours would appear sufficient to star- 
tle even the experimentalist. On the contrary, 
he will find a small selection from the different 
classes of tints serve his purpose infinitely better : 
he will then stand a chance of maintaining the 
hue which he may have adopted, as the repre- 
senting and prevailing tint of some particular 
effect of cloud, sunshine, hour, or season. 

There is an unity of colouring, as well as of 



light and shade, that is to be preserved, otherwise 
the finest outline and arrangement of effect will 
fail in pleasing ; for as painting professes to repre- 
sent natural objects, which in themselves have 
consistency, fitness, and elegant propriety, we 
must be equally consistent, arid moreover, must 
attempt to gain some of the elegancies of nature, 
if we hope to succeed. 

In compiling these tints, some colours which are 
at times used by Artists for landscape and figure 
painting have been left out ; as ultramarine, a 
colour that approaches so nearly to cobalt, that its 
mixture with others produces very nearly similar 
results. The same may be said of carmine, &c. 
It will be noticed by the Reader, that many of 
the specimens in the Index are not so equally laid 
as others : these are not faults in the operation, 
but have been purposely produced, in order to 
shew as much diversity as possible in each of the 


As Painting embraces so large a field of opera- 
tions, and always under varying aspects, it can 
hardly be expected that the following precepts 
are to be considered absolute. Many of them 
depend so much on localities, circumstances of 
weather, and other things, that they can only be 
taken in a general sense : yet, in this manner, 
the pupil will find himself provided with a good 
foundation on which he may construct with safety, 
and common observation will supply him with 
the exceptions to these rules. 


1. Objects in a strong light, whether natural 
or artificial, have their shadows dark and accu- 
rately marked. 

2. Shadows 


2. Shadows from artificial light increase in 
size, as they recede from the object causing the 

3. Shadows from the light of the sun or moon 
are of equal breadth throughout ; that is to say, 
a perpendicular post will cast its shadow in lines 
parallel to each other. This is to be understood 
with proper allowance for the mode in which lights 
and shades are distributed. Lights always inflect 
or bend into shadows in passing the object which 
casts the shade : in the same manner, shadows 
bend towards the light, making a softening pe- 
numbra between them, which must not be over- 
looked in a finished work. 

4. Lights and shadows in cloudy weather are 
very indistinct ; frequently there are neither. 

5. In fogs the objects become of one colour, 
having neither light, shadow, or cast shadows on 
the ground. 

6. Cast shadows are always darker at their 
origin than the shade side of the object which 



casts or throws the shadow ; frequently altogether 
darker than the shade side of the object which 
projects the shadow. 

7. All round objects, as columns, globes, 
&c., have a strong reflected light on the outer 
edge of the shaded side, the darkest part of the 
shadow being removed to near the middle of the 
column, &c. 

8. Lights thrown on objects from fire are of a 
reddish hue, and not so bright as those received 
from daylight. 

9. In the shadows of the human figure or 
animals, do not mark the features, limbs, or mus- 
cles, with hard strong shadows : let them blend 
imperceptibly into the lights, as well as other 
shadows which may surround them. It is in this 
that Correggio excels. 

10. If a figure or object is to be strongly de- 
tached from the back-ground, let the dark parts 
of the figure be placed against the lighter parts 
of the ground, and the lighter portions of the 



object against the dark masses of shadow of the 

11. If grandeur or breadth be desired, let the 
lights of the object mingle with the lights of the 
sky or back-ground, and the shadows mass with 
the shadows. Sir J. Reynolds has shewn in his 
practice, that this mode, in addition to grandeur, 
gives a graceful softness. 


12. All objects will partake more or less of the 
colour of the medium through which they are 
seen, according to its density ; as fog, smoke, 
vapour, &c. : and also are strongly tinged with 
the hue that the light receives in passing through 
clouds, varying with the colours to be found in 
different parts of the sky. 

13. Light will appear brighter by being op- 
posed to dark shadows, and at the same time 
the shadows will appear darker. And similar 
results are produced by colours, which will vary 
their appearance according to the surrounding 



contrasts, as a flesh colour will appear fairer on a 
red or green ground than upon a white ground or 
one of its own colour. Red and green are middle 
tints, and thus operate as shadow when sur- 
rounding lights, as well as being agreeable con- 
trasts : the first, a harmonizing contrast, and 
often used by Titian ; the latter, a distinct and 
separating contrast to the rose tints. 

14. Bright surfaces do not shew their colours 
so well as objects less smooth ; as in the colours of 
grass, leaves of trees, silks, &c. In these we find 
the colours of the sky strongly reflected, espe- 
cially on objects near at hand. Thus the colour of 
objects in a bright or dull day are widely different, 
and by their hue mark the state of the atmosphere. 

15. When there is most light, colours will be 
most distinctly pronounced. In their shadows 
each colour will partake of two hues ; the shade 
proper to the colour, and shade proper to the 
atmosphere ; and in the deepest shades colours 
merge nearly into one tint. 

L 1C. Colours 


16. Colours seen in a reflected light will gene- 
rally be colder than in an open light. The excep- 
tions to this rule are rare, and proceed from arti- 
ficial lights. 

17. Colours will always have their purity de- 
stroyed if the light be of a different colour ; and 
reflected lights will always partake of the colour 
of the objects nearest to them, or lying within the 
proper angle for their reflection. Thus, both the 
lights and shadows of a white dress become red, 
by the reflection of a red dress near it. 

18. Shadows may be impure by reflection, 
whilst the lights have their own proper colour, or 
conversely. These require nice distinctions, and 
should be marked with careful discrimination. 

19. Shadows should seldom destroy the colours 
of objects. When colours have to be destroyed 
to give value to particular points, it is best done in 
distances, by the representation of mist, shadows 
of clouds, &c. ; and on foregrounds, by generaliz- 
ing with the surrounding objects, or the intro- 


duction of objects which possess little or no 

20. "White is most easily seen in distances, the 
darkest colours being first to lose effect. 

21. Colours are most distinctly seen when near 
or surrounded by their proper contrast, as red 
against green ; whilst the opposite would ensue, 
by placing near each other colours that harmonize, 
as blue and green, or yellow and green, &c. But 
it is to be observed, that when two different 
colours come into contact, both are changed in 
appearance at the junction : if a contrast, both 
become more vivid, and are each proportionably 
less vivid as they depart from the junction. If in 
painting this appearance be subdued, a great 
and natural beauty is lost. 

22. When a set of equal or flat shades are laid 
close to each other in gradation, increasing in 
darkness, the effect produced is that every tint is 
a gradation in itself, and not a flat tint ; but if with 
two pieces of paper the tints on the right and left 

L 2 of 


of any one of them be carefully covered, the one 
left exposed will shew the truth of the experiment, 
as we have noticed under the head Chiaro-scuro. 

23. All objects lying under the effect of a clear 
sky will share a portion of the azure in their colours. 

24. Distant mountains or high lands will often 
have their summits well defined by colours, lights, 
and shadows, when their bases are not visible. 
This is occasioned by thin mist or vapours, which 
are constantly playing over the surface of the 
earth, especially in summer, or autumnal morn- 
ings and evenings ; therefore the distant summits 
must be more marked out than the bases, notwith- 
standing the latter are considerably nearer. 

25. Splendid colours, without a due subordi- 
nation to each other and a certain quantity of 
shade-tints, will not make a splendid picture ; for 
colours, in painting, have value only by proper 
association and treatment. 

26. It is by the aerial perspective united to 
lineal that the distance from one object to another 



is estimated. Lineal perspective is not sufficient : 
therefore let the colours of objects diminish in a 
ratio corresponding with the increasing distance 
of objects. 

27. Dark objects become lighter by distance, 
and light objects darker, but not in like manner ; 
for lights are slowly lost, whilst the darker objects 
lose colour at a great rate. The distance at 
which they both become of one hue is dependent 
on the state of the atmosphere and nature of the 

28. A fog, by destroying the colours of objects, 
gives to them an effect of great distance, whilst 
their size is preserved : thus deceiving the eye and 
producing an unnatural appearance of magnitude. 

29. Objects in front are to be most finished. 
As they recede the smaller points vanish, until we 
see them only in masses of light, shade, and 
general colour. 

30. Objects seen between the spectator and a 
strong light will appear diminished. The contrary 



effect will follow when the object is lighter than 
the ground on which it is relieved. 

3 1 . Objects seen through rain lose much of their 
correctness of outline. 

The following useful hints are from Leonardi 
da Vinci. 

32. "It will be proper for an artist to quit his 
" work often and take some relaxation, that his 
" judgment may be clearer at his return ; for too 
" great application is sometimes the cause c" many 
" gross errors. 

33. " Whoever flatters himself that he can retain 
" in his memory all the effects of nature, is de- 
" ceived ; for our memory is not sufficiently capa- 
" cious : therefore be constant in consulting nature," 
which will supply us with an infinite series of effects 
as well as of forms, endless in their varieties. 

The following list is taken from Mr. Field's enu- 
meration of the different substances at present in 
use as colours, separated into two classes, differing 
in permanency. 




Permanent Colours for Oil and Water- Colour 



Zinc White, 

True Pearl White, 

Constant or Barytic White, 

Tin White, 

The pure Earths, as Chalks. 


Yellow Ochre, 
Oxford do. 
Roman do. 
Stone do. 
Sienna I^arth, 
Brown do. 
Plat-ina Yellow, 
Lemon do. 



Rubrates or Madder Lakes, 

Madder Carmines, 

Red Ochre, 

Light Red, 

Venetian Red, 

Indian Red. 


Blue Ochre. 


Orange Vermillion, 
Orange Ochre, 
Jaune de Mars, 
Burnt Sienna Earth, 
Burnt Roman Ochre, 

Gold Purple, 
Madder Purple, 
Purple Ochre. 

Chrome Green, 
Terra Vert, 
Cobalt Green. 


Russet Rubrates or Madder 

Intense Brown, 
Orange do. 




Vandyke Brown, 
Rubens' Brown, 
Raw Umber, 
Burnt Umber, 
Marrone Earth, 
Cassel do., 
Antwerp Brown, 
Chestnut Brown, 
Phosphate of Iron ; 

BROWN and 
SEMI-NEUTRAL continued. 

Ultramarine Ashes, 
Manganese Brown. 


Ivory Black, 

Lamp Black, 

Franckfort do., 

Mineral Black, 

Black Chalk, 

Indian Ink, 

Graphite or Black Lead. 

Colours subject to Change. 


Cobalt is very little changed 
by light, oxygen, and pure 
air, but more or less by the 

Royal Blue, 

Prussian Blue, 

Antwerp Blue, 

Indigo, when mixed with lead. 


Iodine Scarlet, 
Dragon's Blood. 


Turbith Mineral, 
Patent Yellow. 


The Author has not found it possible to insert 
every colour which may be reckoned amongst 
those that change, and fears that many colours 
which are now in use, not enumerated in the 
list of permanent colours, must be considered, 
more or less, as liable to fade; such as Yellow 
lake, Dutch pink, Italian pink, Brown pink, 
and many others of similar make. 

( 102 ) 




INSTRUCTION in the theory of painting must 
always be defective, without those demonstra- 
tions, no where to be found but in the original 
works of the artist, whose particular excellencies 
it might be necessary to discuss. 

Coloured prints can do little towards giving 
anything like the true representation of painting, as 
they contain many great faults ; faults consequent 
on the manner in which they are produced : nor 
will the expense ever permit publishers to em- 
ploy that talent, which alone could make an 
attempt with the least probability of success. 



Thus from such prints we can only obtain a gene- 
ral idea, if any, of that delicacy so necessary to 
ensure some notion of the original. In black 
prints, the light and shade, with the outline, may 
be serviceably given : the composition or inven- 
tion is also, as far as the want of colour will allow, 
complete ; but the chiaro-scuro must remain im 
perfect, as colours which stand for shade and 
colour in the painting can only be represented as 
shadows. These defects occur also in the lighter 
tints, for a great variety of hues and colours will 
often be so exactly balanced, whether in the 
lights or middle tints, that they can only be re- 
presented in the print by one and the same tint 
or shade, most frequently producing an unpleas- 
ing and undiversified breadth of light or monotony 
of shadow. In portraits this difficulty obliges 
the engraver to consider which is the least evil ; 
whether to omit altogether the carnation tints, or 
to represent them by a shadow in the middle of the 
face ; for he must do one or the other. 



Notwithstanding the above, much may be 
gathered from good prints ; and in those which 
accompany the present work, more has not been 
attempted than the means will permit, vis. to 
give an idea of outline and of light and shadow 
from a few of the works of the best artists.* 

It will be perceived by a little attention to 
them as well as to others, that as far as outline 
is concerned, Artists have not been always very 
solicitous about one arrangement more than ano- 
ther; for we frequently see the chief objects 
placed in different parts of a picture, sometimes 
with particular contrasts and accompaniments, at 
others with few or none, and not seldom the 
same effect of light and shade used for altogether 
unlike, or nearly similar subjects. As an exam- 

* The best plates are, unfortunately, the first to wear out, yielding a 
very small number of impressions perfect enough to convey any idea of the 
care that has been bestowed in their execution. The Mezzotinta or Aqua- 
tinta, when engraved on copper, are the best modes for the representation 
of painting, but yield the smallest number of good prints. Plates in either 
of these methods engraved on steel last much longer, but never can, from 
the nature of the material, have the delicacy of those done on copper. 


pie of the latter we have given two subjects from 
Claude Lorraine, at the top and lower end of the 
1st plate. 

In the centre, the subject, which is taken from 
Rembrandt, is composed of one mass of dark, and 
another of light ; in the middle of the picture, 
where the darkest point of the gable end of the 
cottage is brought against the light of the sky, so 
as to bring the whole of this end of the building 
forward, the farther end of the roof being light 
and massing with the lights of the sky, retires, 
and thus completes the perspective of light, sha- 
dow, and colour, and unites the lights of the sky 
with the ground, preserving a breadth and unity 
in both. The unity of the shadows is well ar- 
ranged, by spreading it from the building through 
the shade it casts on the ground into the brook, 
where they are naturally broken by the rippling 
of the water, and graduated into the fore- 
ground lights. The small figure in dark shade 
is placed to break the continuous line of shadow, 



and also to make the distance retire by oppo- 

In plate 2, the upper subject is from Vander- 
velde. In this the same care is shewn in order 
to obtain a grand effect by the simplest means, a 
large mass of light graduating through every degree 
of demi-tints into a positive mass of darkness on 
the rock and sea at the front of the picture. It 
may be here observed, that the darkest shadows 
should never be continued to the bottom of the 
picture, but must be so much enlightened as to 
convey to the mind some idea of returning light. 

The lower subject on the same plate, ' Christ 
quelling the Tempest,' is from a picture by Vlieger, 
an excellent painter of marine subjects, from 
whom the younger Vandervelde derived his in- 
structions. In this the effect is obtained by a 
different process. The lights, although kept 
near together, are broken by sharp contrasts : 
thus the dark figures in the boat contrast against 
the waves at the stern ; the bright light under 



the bows of the vessel is opposed to the dark 
shades of the vessel and water. This method 
will produce great brilliancy, if the colouring 
be judicious and not disturbed by too many as- 
perities in the contrasts ; for where a sufficiency 
of effect has been gained by light and shade, a 
much milder and harmonious style of colouring 
may be allowable, than where most, if not all, 
has to depend on the colouring of the picture 
for its effect. 

The tranquillity of the sky-tint in this piece 
is in some measure broken by the sail, vane, and 
birds. Had it not been broken in this way, it 
would not have united with the subject ; or had 
the sky been as much disturbed with lights and 
shadows as the sea and vessel, there would have 
been no effect in the picture. If the expression 
can be allowed, there would have been a general 
scramble for precedency, such as may be found 
in the centre subject of plate 3, where the picture 
being stript of its colours, has an appearance of 



scattered spots, from the lights of the sky, figures, 
&c. being of equal brilliancy. 

Wouvermans, from whom this subject is taken, 
was so refined in his colouring, and used tints 
of such delicate texture in his different distances, 
that no prints we have seen convey to us any 
idea of the extreme beauty of his paintings. " In 
" contemplating the works of this inimitable 
" artist, we find ourselves at a loss to determine 
" what part is most worthy of applause and ad- 
" miration ; whether the sweetness of the colour- 
" ing, the correctness of his design, his cattle, or 
" his figures, the charming variety of attitudes in 
" his horses, the free yet delicate touchings of his 
" trees, the beautiful choice of his scenery, the 
" judicious use he makes of the chiaro-scuro, or 
" the spirit that animates the whole. His figures 
" are always finely drawn, with expressions suit- 
" able to the subject ; and the attitudes he chose 
" were such as appeared unconstrained, natural, 
" and perfectly agreeable. He had an amazing 

" command 


" command of his pencil, so that he instantly and 
" effectually expressed every idea conceived in his 
" mind, and gave to his pictures an astonishing 
" force by broad masses of chiaro-scuro, which he 
" contrasted with peculiar judgment, and gave 
" an uncommon degree of transparency to the 
" colouring of the whole."* 

The subject at the top of Plate 3 is from Berg- 
hem : a peasant girl, on an ass, at the door of 
an inn, with appropriate accompaniments. The 
effect is produced, notwithstanding the appearance 
of scattered lights, by combining them in such 
manner as nearly to encircle the principal figure, 
which is made prominent by the mass of dark on 
the ass and deep or rich-toned colours on the 
figure. The subject at the bottom of the plate is 
from Paul Potter. In this the simplest possible 
mode is adopted, viz. a white horse is placed 
against a dark one, with a great breadth of middle 

tint in the picture. 


* Pilkington. 



The subjects on the fourth plate are compo- 
sitions of figures. The centre subject is from 
Rembrandt, and represents our Saviour conversing 
with his disciples. Here the effect of light and 
shadow is produced in the most natural and inar- 
tificial manner. The chief light is on the prin- 
cipal figure, made more powerful by breadth, 
being carried also on to an adjoining figure, 
which, though equal in light, is not so in interest, 
having a more subdued action and colour. These 
lights gain additional breadth by uniting with the 
middle tints of the back-ground, and the whole is 
opposed by one mass of dark shadow, preserving 
a strict unity of light and shade, which in the 
original painting would be made more perfect in 
the completion of the chiaro-scuro by colour. 

The subject at the top of the plate is also from 
Rembrandt the ' Pilgrims of Emmaus,' in which 
the dignity of our Saviour is preserved by a small 
increase of size and the most perfect simplicity of 
manner. The three female figures at the bottom 



of the plate are the three Marys, visiting the 
sepulchre, from Salvator Rosa. We shall not 
criticize these small specimens any farther than to 
call attention to the ease and natural positions of 
the figures in both subjects, and the serpentine 
lines used by Salvator in the attitudes of the 
female figures, which, being well suited to the 
action, add much grace. 

Plate 5, contains four subjects from different 
artists. No. 1 is from Salvator Rosa, one of those 
wild subjects in which he excelled. No. 2 is from 
Rysdale, where a beautiful picture is made out of 
nothing but what we see in every field and lane. 
Nos. 3 and 4 are from Gas par Poussin, of whose 
works the Abb Lanzi, in his History of Painting 
in Italy, speaks with so much correct judgment, 
that we cannot resist the pleasure of transcrib- 
ing the whole passage from Mr. Roscoe's transla- 
tion, as it also includes a just critique on the 
works of Claude Lorraine and Salvator Rosa :* 

" But 

* Vol. ii. page 212. 


" But the three celebrated landscape painters, 
" whose works are so much sought after in the 
" collections of princes, appeared under Urban. 
" Salvator Rosa, a Neapolitan and a poet of ta- 
" lent ; Claude Gellie, of Lorraine ; and Gaspar 
" Dughet, also called Poussin, the relative of 
" Nicholas Poussin. That kind of fashion which 
" often aspires to give a tone to the fine arts, 
" alternately exalted one or other of these three, 
" and thus also obliged the painters in Rome to 
" copy in succession, and to follow their various 
" styles. 

" Rosa was the most celebrated of this class 
" at the commencement of this century. A scho- 
" lar of Spagnoletto, and the son, as one may say, 
" of Caravaggio, as in historical composition he 
" attached himself to the strong natural style and 
" dark colouring of that master, so in landscape 
" he seems to have adopted his subject without 
" selection, or rather to have selected the least 
" pleasing parts. Le selve sdvagge, to speak with 

" Dante, 


" Dante, savage scenery, alps, broken rocks and 
" caves, wild thickets, and desert plains, are the 
" kind of scenery in which he chiefly delighted. 
" His trees are shattered, torn, and dishevelled; 
" and in the atmosphere itself he seldom intro- 
" duced a cheerful hue, except occasionally a 
" solitary sunbeam. He observed the same man- 
" ner, too, in his sea views. His style was ori- 
" ginal, and may be said to have been conducted 
" on a principle of savage beauty, as the palate of 
" some persons is gratified with austere wines. 
" His pictures, too, were rendered more accept- 
" able from the figures of shepherds, mariners, or 
"banditti, which he has introduced in almost all 
"his compositions; and he was reproached by 
" his rivals with having continually repeated the 
" same ideas, and in a manner copied himself. 
" Owing to his frequent practice, he had more 
" merit in his small than in his large figures. He 
" was accustomed to insert them in his landscapes, 

" and 


" and composed his historical pictures in the 
" same style as the ' Regulus,' so highly praised 
" in the Colonna palace ; or fancy subjects, as 
" the ' Witchcraft,' which we see in the Campi- 
" doglio, and in many private collections. In 
" these he is never select, nor always correct, but 
" displays great spirit, freedom of execution, and 
" skill, and harmony of colour. In other re- 
" spects he has proved, more than once, that his 
" genius was not confined to small compositions, 
" as there are some altar-pieces well conceived 
" and of powerful effect, particularly where the 
" subject demands an expression of terror, as in 
" a ' Martyrdom of Saints' at S. Giode' Fiorentini 
"at Rome; and in the ' Purgatory,' which I 
" saw at S. Giovanni delle Case Rotte in Milan, 
" and at the church del Suffragio, in Matelica. 

" Gaspar Dughet, or Poussin, of Rome or of 
" the Roman school, did not much resemble 
" Rosa, except in dispatch. Both these artists 


" were accustomed to commence and finish a 
" landscape, and decorate it with figures, on the 
" same day. Poussin, contrary to Salvator, se- 
" lectedthe most enchanting scenes, and the most 
" beautiful aspect of nature ; the graceful poplar, 
" the spreading plane trees, limpid fountains, ver- 
" dant meads, gently-undulating hills, villas 
" delightfully situated, calculated to dispel the 
" cares of state and to add to the delights of 
" retirement. 

" All the enchanting scenery of the Tusculan 
" or Tiburtine territory, and of Rome, where, as 
" Martial observes, Nature has combined the 
" many beauties which she has scattered singly 
"in other places, was copied by this artist. He 
" composed also ideal landscapes, in the same 
" way that Torquato Tasso, in describing the 
" garden of Armida, concentrated in his verses 
" all the recollections of the beautiful which he 
" had observed in Nature. Notwithstanding this 

" extreme 


" extreme passion for grace and beauty, it is the 
" opinion of many, that there is not a greater 
" name amongst landscape painters. His genius 
" had a natural fervour, and, as we may say, a 
" language, that suggests more than it expresses. 
" To give an example, in some of his larger land- 
" scapes, similar to those in the Panfili palace, 
" we may occasionally observe an artful winding 
" of the road, which in part discovers itself to the 
" eye, but in other parts leaves itself to be fol- 
" lowed by the mind. 

" Every thing that Caspar expresses is founded 
" in Nature. In his leaves he is as varied as the 
" trees themselves, and is only accused of ad- 
" hering too much to a green hue. He not only 
" succeeded in representing the rosy tint of morn- 
" ing, the splendour of noon, evening twilight, or 
" a sky tempestuous or serene, but the passing 
" breeze that whispers through the leaves, storms 
" that tear and uproot the trees of the forest, 

" lowering 


" lowering skies, and clouds surcharged with 
" thunder and rent with lightning, are represent- 
" ed by him with equal success. * 

" Claude Lorraine is generally esteemed the 
" prince of landscape painters, and his composi- 
" tions are indeed, of all others, the richest and 
" the most studied. A short time suffices to run 
" through a landscape of Poussin or Rosa from 
" one end to the other, when compared with 
" Claude, though on a much smaller surface. His 
" landscapes present to the spectator an endless 
" variety, so many interesting objects, that like an 
" astonished traveller, the eye is obliged to pause 
" to measure the extent of the prospect, and his 
" distances of mountains or of sea are so illusive, 
" that the spectator feels, as it were, fatigued by 
" gazing. The edifices and temples which so 
" finely round off his compositions, the lakes peo- 
" pled with aquatic birds, the foliage diversified 
" in conformity to the different kind of trees, all is 

N " Nature 


" Nature in him. Every object arrests theatten- 

" tion of an amateur, every thing furnishes instruc- 

" tion to a professor : particularly when he painted 

" with care, as in the pictures of the Altieri, 

*' Colonna, and other palaces of Rome. There 

" is not an effect of light, or a reflection in the 

" water or in the sky itself, which he has not 

" imitated, and the various changes of the day 

" are no where better represented than in Claude. 

" In a word, he is truly the painter who, in de- 

" picting the three regions of air, earth, and 

" water, has embraced the whole universe. His 

" atmosphere almost always bears the impress of 

" the sky of Rome, whose horizon, from its situa- 

" tion, is rosy, dewy, and warm. He did not 

" possess any peculiar merit in his figures, which 

" are insipid, and generally too much atte- 

" nuated. The figures, indeed, were generally 

" added by another hand, frequently by Lauri. 

" An artist of the name of Angiola, who died 

" young, 


" young, deserves to be mentioned as the scholar 
" of Claude, as well as Vandervert. Claude 
" also contributed to the instruction of Gaspar 
" Poussin." 

The following plates, 6, 7, and 8, are from 
paintings by the Author. 



Printed by J. L. Cox and SONS, 1?>, Great Queen Street, 
Lincoln's-Inn Fields. 

/'faff 111. 



Lake and Indigo. 

Lake and Cobalt. 

Madder Brown and Cobalt. 

Madder Lake, Cobalt,, and Yellow Ocre. 


Indian Red and Cobalt. 



Indian Red and Indigo. 

Light Red and Cobalt. 

Vermilion and Cobalt. 

Lake, Cobalt, and Yellow Ochre. 

Lake, Indigo, and Yellow Ochre. 


Gamboge, Lake, and Indigo. 

Raw Sienna, Madder Lake, and Cobalt. 

Light Red and Indigo. 

Vandyke Brown, Lake, and Indigo. 


Burnt Sienna, Lake, and Indigo. 


Gamboge, Light Red, and Indigo. 

Gamboge, Burnt Sienna, and Indigo. 

Gamboge, Burnt Sienna, and Indigo. 

Vandyke Brown, Gamboge, and Indigo. 

Italian Pink and Antwerp Blue. 


Italian Pink and Lamp Black. 


Yellow Ochre and Indigo. 

Burnt Sienna and Indigo. 

Brown Pink and Indigo. 

Raw Umber and Indigo. 



Yellow Ochre and Lake. 

Yellow Ochre and Light Red. 

Yellow Ochre and Vandyke Brown. 

Vandyke Brown and Lake. 

Burnt Sienna and Lake. 






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